“you wouldn’t understand…you’re not a parent”

How insensitive is that? My (former) sister-in-law told me that I “wouldn’t understand” her position on parenting because I “wasn’t a mother.”

Vicki and I had been discussing the problems Michael (her son, my nephew) had been having in school, he was about 8 or 9. He was falling behind in his classes and causing disruptions during lectures. I told her that my brother, Paul (her ex-husband) had the same issues in school but it was because Paul was bored. Paul was highly intelligent and would “act out” in class because he didn’t need the lectures the teacher was giving (Paul should have been in advanced classes, but that is another story.)

Anyway, I suggested to Vicki that she have Michael tested and possibly placed in special classes. Her response was “Michael does not need testing or to be in special classes. He’s not retarded!”

Me: “Oooookay, that is not what I was suggesting.”

Vicki: “You wouldn’t understand, you’re not a Mother.”

Why does it seem that as a “non-parent” if you comment on someone’s child you are automatically criticizing the parent? I wasn’t criticizing Vicki or Michael. I was suggesting that she take an active interest in what was going on in Michael’s head though!

This statement really upset me, especially since I could see the “damage” Vicki’s lack of interest was doing to Michael. Vicki ended up putting Michael on Ritalin. I totally disagreed , but “…you’re not a parent.” Even as a non-parent I knew this was a bad move.

My nephew is now 21, a high school drop-out, an alcoholic and drug addict, and has not held a job for more than 2 months. This breaks my heart.

More recently, a good friend told me almost the same thing, but it was regarding how “tired” she was raising her children and working.

Why, why, why do parents automatically throw that in our faces? Why do they assume we as non-parents can’t/won’t understand what they are going through?

Upset and Frustrated

This is so stupid. Hubby and I are “fighting.” Although I really don’t know if its a fight if one party refuses to “engage.”

Anyway, this morning while trying to leave the house for an appointment, the garage door refused to shut…AGAIN. I tried to get the door to close (using the electric opener) for about 20 minutes…door goes down about 6 inches and pops right back up…push button…down and right back up. There is nothing blocking the infrared beam, the door just refuses to close. So, I call Hubby; I’m upset (I have already canceled my appointment because I won’t be able to get there in time) and my frustration leaks through into my conversation with him. Here’s the thing, though, I have been asking Hubby to figure out what is going on with this door for MONTHS! Now, he has gone out there and “fixed” it, because it works just fine for him. But as soon as I push the button…nope, not closing.

While on the phone with him, he says “are you pushing the right button?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! As if I can’t tell the difference between the door button and the light button? Anyway, I hung up on him I was so mad.

He called me back a few minutes later and I could here one of his co-workers in the background saying “you need to fix that, man.” Hubby proceeds to tell me to just close it manually by disengaging the opener and letting the door “fall.”  I asked “Won’t that damage the door?” So, we have a bit of back and forth on how heavy the door is and what not and he says “Fine, I’ll just use my lunch break to drive home and close the door for you.” I told him repeatedly he didn’t need to come home, he could just look at it after work, but he insisted on driving home.

So, since he was coming home on his lunch break, I made him him some lunch. When he got home, he spent about 5 minutes or so trying to get the door to close (which it wouldn’t) and finally disengaged the opener and let the door “fall.” He claims it won’t damage the door, but the door bounced when it hit the ground!

He came inside and started eating then said he needed to get back to work, but started saying stuff like:

“You’re an intelligent woman, why can’t you figure out how to close the door?”

“You would rather call me at work and flame spray me in front of everybody, because just like your Dad, it’s easier to get angry and yell at someone rather than think like a rational human being”

“I have serious doubts about…[taking the position that requires him to travel]…if you can’t even figure out how to get the garage door to close”

Including claiming that the only reason I want him to take the promotion he was offered is because I’m “greedy” (job pays almost double what he’s currently getting) and if I want more money then I need to “get off” my ass and earn it.

So, long story (not exactly) short, I’m upset, he’s upset and my garage door opener is still not doing its intended job.

I’m pretty sure he was already having a rough day at work and I’m sure my complaint about the garage door didn’t help, but he didn’t need to take it out on me. And he uses the “I’m sure you think I’m being an asshole, but” as an excuse to actually be an asshole! Because, obviously if he claims it it can’t be true.

Some notes on the above statements made by Hubby. I’m not sure where the flame spraying him in front of “everybody” came from. I called him, he didn’t answer, he called me back. So if I “flame sprayed” him in “front of everybody” it would be because he called me while standing in “front of everybody.” Also, he knows how upset I get when he compares me to either of my parents! My parents are NOT good role models and I have worked very hard to not be like them. My Father has a terrible temper and his fuse is non-existent. I have spent years reigning in my temper and not reacting to things that make the average person angry (this probably isn’t good for my blood pressure since I tend to shut down emotionally). As for the dig at my intelligence, he also knows that not much raises my blood pressure like being called stupid.

The war between what I want to do and what I have to do.

I have soooo much to get done and yet I can seem to get started. Lingering depression maybe? I don’t know.

My to do list:

Laundry-I was lazy and didn’t work on it over the weekend as I usually do, I have about 5-6 loads to cycle through.

Grocery shopping-I’m out of many of items and really should get it done before it gets critical, but I may just put it off til tomorrow. I have what I need for dinner tonight anyway.

Floors-they are filthy!(in my opinion) They need a good scrubbing. I tried to do them over the weekend, but Hubby kept asking “what are you doing?” as if the broom in my hand wasn’t an answer?! He asked three times before I yelled at him, then I was “over-reacting” to a simple question!

Studying- I have four more chapters to get through in the course I’m taking for Certification…I have until the end of the month (unless I want to “extend” and pay for more time). I also need to study for my Certification Exam which is scheduled for next month and do my Practicums which will help when taking my Exam. (This course is self-paced and much of it is online, so at least I don’t have to drive to school)

Work-granted its only part-time (20 hours a week), but still have to do it.

Clean the rest of the house, including the disaster Hubby made of the kitchen yesterday and this morning! Don’t get me wrong, I love that Hubby can cook (and that he’s good at it!) but he really falls short on the “clean as you go” and “do you really need to use every dish in the kitchen?”

I also have a Dentist appointment this week. I should call the Doctor (I’m supposed to schedule a mammogram).

I have a quilt I started last month that I really should spend some time on.

Then there’s what I want to do:

finish the novel I’m reading

play a mindless video game

blog

sit in the backyard and soak up some sunshine while doing absolutely nothing (or watching the dog chase lizards and squirrels up the trees)

get a haircut and maybe a pedicure

So, what is it going to be? the morning is already half gone, so I guess I’ll start a load of wash and tackle the kitchen. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while, I’m probably just doing my “chores”

My infertility story

My history:

I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) at age 30. I was “labeled” Post-menopausal at age 33.

This was after years of abnormal periods and an inability to conceive.

See, I had my first period at age 15 and had regular cycles (32-36 days with periods lasting about 5 days), so they might have been considered irregular, but since they came about every 5 weeks like clockwork, I never really thought anything of it. This lasted until I was 18 and joined the Military. I was given birth control in Boot Camp and told “you must take this.” Since I was rather naive, I took that to be a direct order and took them. I had never taken BC before so had no idea what I was getting into. I did like the fact that my cycles were even more regular (exactly 28 days) and now they were lighter and only lasted 3 days WOOHOO!

Anyway, I continued to take the BC, but started to have break-through spotting a couple years later, I was 21. I complained to Medical and their solution was to switch the brand I was taking. Well, the ‘”new” ones caused weight gain, mood swings and MORE SPOTTING! So, back to Medical I went. I was told, “you have to give it time and let your body adjust.” How’s that for a non-solution? So, I quit taking BC all together.

My cycles stayed relatively regular for about 6 months or so and the break-through spotting stopped. Then, the irregularity started. 2 weeks-period…6 weeks-period…3 weeks-period. I’m sure you get the picture. I never knew when to expect it. I had never really suffered from PMS so never really had a warning that a cycle was coming, until it was there.

The irregularity continued and after I got married, Hubby and I agreed I should speak to the Dr about it. The Dr recommended a fertility specialist and I made an appointment. Now, at the time (late 90’s) Hubby was still in the Military so I had no choice but to see a Military Dr. (For those of you who don’t know, at the time Dr’s in the military didn’t have to be licensed to practice and the majority of them were only RN’s) While seeing the Fertility “specialist” she refused to treat my husband (she was an OB/GYN), what kind of “fertility Dr” doesn’t treat both parties?! After taking my history and doing an HSG (normal) she recommended a course of Clomid, with an ultrasound scheduled for day 15 of my cycle. Ultrasound results? Can’t find my ovaries and my “uterus is really small.”

During this time Hubby and I were “on a schedule” for sex, I was charting my basal body temp and cervical mucus (eewww, I’m embarrassed to write that). I was watching what I ate…no caffeine, no alcohol, limited sugar and processed food. Still, no luck on conceiving.

So, Dr recommends IVF. The catch? Being in the Military we would need to go to Walter Reed Medical Center, in Maryland! We were in Georgia! Now, the rest of the catch…we would have to pay for all expenses except the lab fees. Hubby would have to get permission to go, using valuable vacation days, and it would take multiple trips of multiple days. So, this wasn’t an option for us. About the time this was happening Hubby got orders for his new Duty Station. You guessed it, we were moving…overseas.

New duty station, new Dr’s. I brought up the fertility issue with the new Dr and he wanted to start “from the beginning” with all the testing etc. Ummm, really? Why can’t we use the information that is in my record and go from there? I really did not want to repeat any of the uncomfortable and downright painful testing that I had already done.

So, Hubby and I gave up. It also didn’t help that he would be deployed for weeks and months at a time. Can’t exactly try to conceive when your partner is hundreds of miles away.

Fast forward about 5 years, and I get my POF diagnosis (another ultrasound-no ovaries to be found). I had my last period shortly after that. Which brings me to Menopause.

For those of you who have not been through it, let me just say Menopause sucks! There are the hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, mood swings, libido issues, mood swings, vaginal dryness, depression and oh, did I mention mood swings? So, mood swings…I would go from laughing to crying to furious in about 10 seconds flat. I had no control over my emotions. I would fly off the handle and rage over absolutely nothing. I would cry over stupid commercials, or nothing, sometimes.

So, I suffered through the symptoms of menopause, with no help (or sympathy) from my Dr. Her recommendation? “I’ll give you a prescription for Xanax.” WHAT?!? (sorry, that was a mood swing).

So, now you’re mostly up to date. Last year, another new Dr. He’s concerned about the “premature menopause” (I should just now be starting to have “mild” symptoms, not be post-menopausal) and the lack of estrogen in my system. He sends me for a DEXA scan (bone density) and the results are I have osteopenia in my hips and osteoporosis in my back (this probably explains why I have shrunk an inch in the last 10 years and have suffered from lower back pain for years). So, Dr sends me to an Endocrinologist. She recommends Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Now I am on HRT (estrogen and progesterone)…the benefits? I feel better (less depressed), I sleep better and my sex life has improved tremendously (this makes Hubby super happy). The drawbacks…Cramps, sore boobs and I keep bleeding. It started with some occasional minor spotting, which I brought up to the Dr. I was sent for an ultrasound, which resulted in an endometrial biopsy (something I never want to repeat! Can you say OWWW!?! I almost kicked the Dr in the head!) Now, the bleeding has progressed to having a “period” every 2 weeks! This is ridiculous. This wasn’t mentioned during the discussion about taking HRT. I was told there “was a possibility of vaginal bleeding” but every 2 weeks? Do the Dr’s not realize how inconvenient this is? Maybe they don’t care? I don’t know, I’m ready to stop the HRT all together, but the benefits (right now) are outweighing the inconvenience. I just wish I could get a straight answer from the Dr, any Dr!

So, that’s pretty much my story.  

That “Mothering Instinct”

What is it that makes us, as women, feel that need to “mother” something?

As a child I didn’t care for dolls, I wanted to play outside, in the mud and dirt, climbing trees and playing those rough and tumble games. As a teenager, I was more interested in jeans and t-shirts than make-up, hair and nails and dressing “like a girl”.

When I was in my 20’s I got married and was expecting that soon I would be a Mother. I was trying to adjust from the “single, no one to worry about but me” mindset to the “I’m going to be responsible for raising a child(ren)” mindset. Could I do this? I had no experience with babies and babies/motherhood had never been a priority.

Then, after years of trying to become pregnant, and it being a driving force in my life, I was told it wasn’t possible. Now what? I had spent the last years “nurturing” that instinct to take care of people. I had become the person that is always there for others, the one who cooks a meal for a sick friend, or goes to the store for the neighbor who can’t get out. And now I was being told, I would never have a child. Where was I going to put that nurturing to use?

Fast forward to the present. I still have that need to nurture, I still want to take care of others. So what do I do with it? I end up “taking care” of those around me. Like the “kid” at work who always seems to be eating junk food, what do I do? I bring in lasagna from dinner the night before, “Hi Rex, are you hungry? I made lasagna last night and brought too much for lunch. Would you like some?” Or, “I was in the mood to bake, but made too many cookies. Here take some home.”

I even “Mother” my dogs. I treat them like they’re children, which I guess they are (to me). I have raised them from puppies. I have fed and walked them. Taught them “English”, so they understand the commands I give. I have nursed them through illnesses and injuries, and worried over them when they don’t eat.

Yet, there is still the need to take care of “something”, that feeling of incompleteness, that won’t go away. That feeling that something is missing. Is this that “mothering instinct” and what do I do with it?

 

Can’t seem to win for losing

So, Tuesday Hubby called to let me know he had been offered the promotion! Yay! right?

See, Hubby had been “tapped” about six months ago, for this position but at the time they wanted him to relocate to Pennsylvania. Hubby told the company we had just recently moved to Florida and purchased a home and he “had no plans to relocate.” Over the last few months, numerous people in the company have approached him about his interest in this position and Hubby has always told them the same thing “I am not moving.”

Well, Tuesday while Hubby was at the Corporate offices for his business trip, they “offered” him the promotion. The terms were that he would not need to relocate, but there would be extensive traveling involved (about 50% of the time he would be at one location or another). The “perks” would be that Hubby would no longer be a Manager, he would be Corporate with all the attendant Benefits and Salary increases that included.

So, Hubby and I discussed it and decided that we would deal with the traveling and it was probably a bad idea to turn down a Promotion. So, Hubby decided he would take the Promotion.

Well, this morning, the Company gave him the Formal offer, but now we would be required to relocate to Dallas, TX.

Neither of us are happy with this. Neither of us want to move back to Texas (there is a reason we left!) Hubby says his boss is trying to renegotiate the relocation, as numerous Corporate types have homes in places other than Texas, and just keep an “office” at the Corporate headquarters (his Boss being one of them). Since this Promotion would involve travel anyway,  his Boss says it shouldn’t be an issue.

Now, we are playing the waiting game. Now, we have to consider selling our beautiful home near the beach, to move back to an area we really don’t like (and that has had detrimental effects on my health due to the air quality). Now, we have to consider turning down this opportunity and potentially never being offered another from this company.

Infertile Myrtle

Most days, it doesn’t bother me, but today I went to Brunch with a friend and another lady (who is 7 months pregnant). The conversation centered around pregnancies and children, and the struggle with infertility. Both of them had also spent years doing fertility treatments, only they had the happy endings, they got/get to take that precious baby home.

Again, I am in that “Why not me” place. Again, I feel like I have been slapped in the face by life. As though, those gods of fertility are laughing at me.

Everyday, it seems, you see a story on the news of a girl throwing her baby in the garbage, or someone deliberately killing a child. Why are these people, who don’t even want babies, given these precious children, and I can’t have even one? What did I do to deserve this?

I thought I was past this. Apparently not. So, sitting here feeling sorry for myself, again. Grieving over the loss of the lives that should have been.

Thank you, Thunderstorm

Thank you, Thunderstorm, for waking me at 4AM with that BOOM of thunder directly over my house.

Thank you, Thunderstorm, for setting my heart to racing and trying to figure out what the crash was…Did someone break in?  Did something hit my house?

Thank you, Thunderstorm, for traumatizing my dog into burrowing under my blanket and scratching my chest in the process.

Thank you, Thunderstorm, for being wild enough to prevent me from going back to sleep.

But, I also thank you, Thunderstorm, for the much needed rain.

On my own

Well, Hubby has to travel for work this week (again!), this makes the 4th trip since the 1st of the year. Each trip takes him away for about a week. You would think I would be used to it, since he was in the Military for years and would be deployed for months at a time, but he has been “retired” for almost 10 years, so has been home every night since.

I really don’t like him being gone, the house (already too big and empty) feels even emptier when he’s traveling. It’s not so bad during the day, since I’m used to that, but the nights just seem to drag on forever. I wake at every little sound and end up laying there in the dark, just waiting…sleepless.

The only thing good about him being gone is I can cook whatever I’m in the mood for, which is usually things I grew up eating that hubby isn’t a fan of (we come from 2 very different cultures). I’m not saying I don’t get to eat what I want when he’s around, I just don’t cook the things he won’t/doesn’t eat. Our food tastes are pretty similar, and I am an “adventurous” eater, since I’ll try almost anything at least once (how do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it?)

So, the silver lining…I’m making cheesecake today (yum!) and maybe chicken pot pie (one of those “casseroles” hubby doesn’t like). So here’s to a week of “comfort food”.

Not being a parent doesn’t automatically make my life “easier”

Isn’t it ironic that parents automatically assume that because you don’t have children you have all this free time and “extra” money to do nice things?

For example, I recently had a conversation with my brother that went something like this:

Brother “you and Alex should come visit so you can see how big the girls are getting”

     Me ” we can’t afford to take the time off work and fly to Hawaii, maybe you can plan to come here. You can take the girls to Disney World and Universal Studios. They would like that”

     Brother “You want me to fly my girls to Florida? Just come here, its easier for you to travel than for me to take my girls anywhere”

And another conversation with a friend:

Friend “oh, I miss the days when we could just go out and party all night”

Me “HUH?”

Friend “you know, before the kids came along and we would just come home from work and decide to go out for dinner and drinks and maybe dancing. When we didn’t have to worry about baths and bedtimes and babysitters”

Me “are you saying you would rather not have those beautiful babies, just so you can go out?” (ok, I was being kinda bitchy, but really, this just rubbed me the wrong way)

Friend (upset now) “no! that’s not what I’m saying! Its just you have it so good, since you don’t have to worry about children. Life is easier without them”

How is it “easier”? I didn’t ask to be childless, I didn’t choose to be childless.

Just because I don’t have children doesn’t automatically give me all this “extra” time and cash. I still have bills, I still have work to do. Its just the priorities that are different.

It’s true I don’t have to worry about baths and bedtimes and homework, but that doesn’t mean I have it “easier”. Seriously, what did you do with “all that free-time” before you had children? Did you travel? Go out to dinner and dance all night, every night? NO? Really? you probably did the same thing I’m doing…come home and make dinner sit on the couch and have a glass of wine and relax…because you earned it, you just worked all day, dammit. Or you came home and found out the water heater is broken (or the washing machine, or the dryer or any number of things that break at the worst possible time!). Or maybe you got stuck in traffic, or had to work late (because the boss knows you don’t have children waiting for you at home, and he values family time). So, NO just because I don’t have children doesn’t make my life easier. 

Remember, what your life was like pre-child? Think about that, next time you “accuse” me of having it easier.