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Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

Also, don’t forget to check out my other website for some affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

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Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

TELEVISION SAVED MY LIFE AS A PARENT.

I know I know….

It is absolutely frowned upon to let your children consume too much of the “idiot box”.

As a matter of fact, my parents only kept up to two televisions in the house until I was in high school. I didn’t have a television in my room until I bought one of my own.

The reason why I preferred having a television in my room is because I have always been afraid of the dark. I still am afraid of the dark. A traditional nightlight just doesn’t cut it.

During the first week of Ariana’s life, I had the worst time getting her to fall asleep. It was already terrible enough that she constantly cried. She didn’t have an issue with colic or health, she just cried a lot. At first, I tried to soothe Ariana with a radio. That worked for a few days. Then, I tried the television.

MAGIC!!!!

Did it stop her from crying? NO. Did the television help her got to sleep? YES JESUS! That means mommy could get some sleep. Mind you, I was battling postpartum depression at the time. I needed to sleep.

It wasn’t the fact that I just had the television on. Ariana specifically wanted to watch “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Homegirl thought she was grown.

This worked out well because these two shows came on back-to-back. DVR was also my friend when I needed access to these shows multiple times a day.

When Ariana graduated to her own room, I put a television in her room. By then, she had enter the world of Dora The Explorer. We love educational programming! No, she wasn’t sitting in her room, watching tv all day. She needed the television for background noise, just like I did.

As I continued to have kids, television became more of a necessity.

Have you ever tried to make phone calls or handle other important business while several little kids were running around? How did that work out? Have you ever needed to tend to one child, but the other one(s) we’re getting into everything?

Sometimes, you just need your children to sit down and shut the Hell up. Putting on a favorite movie or series with some popcorn just does the trick!

I also found tv to be an educational helper for my special needs boys. They all have shorter than normal attention spans, so traditional teaching doesn’t help much. Julian and Joshua are mostly nonverbal, but they can sing nursery rhymes and recognize some colors. Cocomelon and Baby First TV are their favorites.

Avery learned how to read high frequency words from watching YouTube. Although his comprehension is not good, Avery reads well above grade level. Phonics is his thing!

The thing is, it’s not realistic for me to keep all of my children occupied at the same time. Is using the television taking the lazy way out? It might be to you. However, it makes my household run a little bit easier, especially for my ASD babies. I’m not sure if the problem is how much tv time your children have. I think the problem is the kind of content that your kids are consuming.

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Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

Our First Week Of Remote Learning!

Let’s just say that there is not enough wine in the world to go through this. It started out as an atrocity, but it’s getting better.

The state that I live in was obviously not prepared for this school year. The last few months of the last school year was also remote learning, but we had old-fashioned packets and pencils. I guess the state thought we would just pick up where we left off.

This school term is all virtual. This means that we are doing everything over the computer. We are saving trees, folks!

I think that everyone involved in this process needs to understand a few things:

1. The teachers are frustrated as well and would rather teach their babies in a classroom. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT!

2. Parents have to learn how to use new applications along with their kids. Some kids are being raised by a generation that is not tech-savvy. Parents, you are allowed to be frustrated!

3. Technology is technology. Something is going to malfunction or crash. Some parents have gotten their kids started in the morning with ease, and some are ready to tear their hair out.

I want to say that I am blessed to be in the position that I am in as a stay at home parent. There are parents who either had to quit their jobs, rearrange their schedules, go without sleep, or entrust their children to a babysitter to help with schoolwork.

Honestly, this was supposed to be the school term that made my house empty. I had plans to throw a party all by myself. I had plans to finally finish that mountain of laundry. I had plans to just enjoy the quiet time.

I complain about it, but I have to look at the fact that parents who work outside of the home are stressed beyond belief right now.

I never understood the last minute open house meetings. Why do I get all of my children’s information three days before starts? It makes no sense. Mind you, I already have the school supplies. Shout out to my early preparation in March!

What alarmed me about this year’s open house was finding out that two of my children were going to be attending different schools. The last minute notice…..

My older three children were set to start school on Monday(August 17th), and my youngest three were set to start later. I was ferociously checking emails and apps on Saturday(August 15th) because none of my children had classes. I hadn’t heard from Avery’s new school.

On Monday(August 17th), I logged into my children’s Google Classroom accounts. Amariyah had her classes, but her teacher is missing. She is being taught by the 5th grade teacher. Avery and Ariana were still without classes. I was able to get Amariyah started on her Zoom meetings with slight difficulties.

I proceeded to call my other children’s schools to figure out what was going on. After about 30 attempts, I finally was able to speak with secretaries. They took my messages, but didn’t call me back. Oh lord! According to a secretary, Avery was transferred to the wrong school.

Meanwhile, Amariyah was just breezing through her meetings with her NOTfourthgrade teacher. She is the type of child who likes to take charge. Sometimes it’s great and other times it’s annoying. I’m referring to the way that she talks over everybody because she just has to be first or correct.

I received a call back from a technical support representative for Ariana at 6:00 that evening. I was instructed to keep checking her email because she was no longer using Google Classroom. I checked Ariana’s email and found some links to get her started for the next day. Unfortunately, I still had no word on Avery.

On Tuesday(August 18th), Amariyah and Ariana logged into their classes and email and got started. I checked Avery’s Google Classroom app. There were two classes. Thank God! I was confused because he was still enrolled at the school that I was told was incorrect. I just wanted my baby to get started so I logged him into his zoom meetings.

Avery had a difficult time concentrating during his meetings. This was to be expected for several reasons. I had to sit next to Avery and help him pay attention.

When it came time for Avery to do his assignments, I had to guide him through his work.

The work that he was given didn’t seem to line up with his IEP. I called the school. I spoke to the secretary who was in charge of special education to express my concerns.

This is when I found out that Avery was in a regular classroom with an EC(Exceptional Children) teacher as backup. I was pretty annoyed at this point. The secretary confirmed to me that she had Avery’s IEP, but she said she never read it. She wanted to see what Avery was capable of doing.

Ummm…. isn’t that the point of the IEP?

I was pissed. I emailed Avery’s EC teacher, but she was also pretty dismissive. I miss his old school because I was used to his teacher. I hope that he can return soon.

Whew! I think that next week is when I will introduce my babies into virtual learning. I guess the therapies for Julian and Joshua will also be virtual…. This will be a movie.

Aside from late starts, defective zoom links, missing classes, and missing teachers, the first week went okay. We will continue to pray moving forward. I still have to get my babies on the bandwagon. This will be fun. We just all have to get used to this new normal.

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Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.

Categories
Autism: From the outside looking in. Parenting

Putting A Leash On Your Child?

I said that I would never do that. Of course, my daddy told me Lane we say never”. He was correct.

I remember observing someone walking their child with a leash. I scoffed like a judgmental asshole. It looked absolutely ridiculous. At that time, I didn’t have kids. I said that I would never have my child walking around like some pet.

I stuck to that sentiment as I began having kids. Then, the twins came along. I noticed Joshua’s inability to comprehend. It was always there. I started noticing Julian’s inability shortly after. He had started regressing. Still, when we went out, Donnie and I kept all of the babies in 2 different strollers. It was a lot of work, but we managed.

I purchased three harness leashes in early 2018. I wanted to ditch the strollers during our upcoming beach trip. It just made things easier. I just didn’t want to overload our van with suitcases and strollers.

It was a disaster. First of all, I was embarrassed. I didn’t know what others were thinking as they were staring at me. These were some of the same stares that I gave to other parents before I actually became one. A lot of people don’t understand autism, so it’s easy for them to say “That’s child needs to be whooped”. A lot of people stare. Rarely, I will get sympathy from another understanding parent or caregiver.

Relying on the harnesses was a disaster. That is why the pessimism in me told me to also purchase handcuff leashes. The clips on Joshua’s harness broke. Julian and Joshua had the worst meltdowns whenever we walked somewhere. Jessica actually did a great job with the harness. She did so well that I allowed my other kids to hold the leash while she walked around.

I was definitely missing the strollers. They would be apart of any future trips that we would take.

After going through the appointments, assessments, and therapies, with the boys in 2019, I decided to keep them in strollers. I finally had answers as to why I noticed delays and regressions. Also, it was much easier to tote around heavy strollers than to deal with a bunch of stares and judgment in public. I still used the leases at the ocean though.

As Julian and Joshua grew, it was difficult to find a stroller big enough to accommodate them. They are 4 and 5 years old, at this point. The strollers were either too small or too expensive. I settled on a double jogging stroller. That will probably buy us two years, until we have to come up with another option. I will probably have to buy a wagon.

There was a delay in shipping, so their stroller didn’t arrive in time for our zoo trip, earlier this month. Jessica could walk freely, without being tethered to someone else. That’s as one less stroller that needed to be packed. We still used the double stroller that I bought for Joshua and Jessica when they were born. The boys looked ridiculous in it.

Julian threw a big tantrum when we stopped for lunch. Normally, the boys will cry if the stroller stops moving. They always like to be on the go. I thought that was what was wrong with Julian. Donnie pushed the stroller around, but Julian was still not satisfied. At that point, I concluded that he wanted to be free of the stroller. We weren’t in a store, where he could knock things over. Why not? I pulled a handcuff leash out of the diaper bag and put it around Julian’s wrist. To my disbelief, he did a great job. I still had to tug the leash a few times to get him in the right direction, but Julian did really well. He seemed to really enjoy the walk. True to form, he started crying every time we stopped walking.

Joshua stayed in the stroller. He would have rolled all over the ground instead of walking.

Though I had my apprehensions at first, I don’t regret using a harness or leash for my children. My pride is less significant than their safety. I’m not trying to make a fashion statement, although, I do have some cute colors. Thanks Amazon!

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

The Most Thankless Job.

We are in the group of the unacknowledged “essential workers”. Stay-at-home parents know EXACTLY what I mean. Our job is the most demanding, but least appreciated.

I was only working on the weekends at the time I decided to stay home with my kids. My husband, Donnie, worked during the week. I had three children at home at the time. My husband and I traded childcare duties

There are many reasons why stay-at-home parents are created. Finances didn’t initially sway my decision to become a stay-at-home parent. I was pregnant with Julian, and I wanted to rest.

Before I had Julian, I suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage. It happened in May of 2014. I had been spotting on and off for a week. I began to heavily bleed around Mother’s Day. Donnie and I were devastated, but I later accepted that God had a reason. Others would say that it was because “You don’t need anymore kids.”. Okay….

I found out that I was pregnant again in July of the same year. I was highly stressed at work, and I just wanted to take it easy with my pregnancy. I just quit. I talked to my husband first, of course. Donnie was fully prepared to take on the burden of our household finances.

I’ve been a stay-at-home mother for almost six years. As time passed, I had more kids. Daycare was not something that would fit into the budget.

I absolutely hate it. Am I allowed to say that? Yes, I hate being a stay-at-home mother. My kids are not the reason why I feel this way. I just feel inadequate and lazy. Some days I feel held back. I feel like my contribution is the least important.

I’M THE ALARM CLOCK.

My weekdays start at 4:00am when I wake my husband up for work. My oldest children are out of the bed between 5:15 and 5:30. We all know that the kiddies need to be woken up at least five times. By 5:50, it’s time to dress some flailing toddlers!

All of my kids depart for school by 6:35am. All except for Jessica. She will start Pre-K this fall.

I’M THE SECRETARY AND ACCOUNTANT.

After I get Jessica settled, it’s time to create the household budgets. I actually enjoy doing this part. I don’t know if it’s the task of creating ledgers, or the the thrill of making financial miracles happen. Aren’t unexpected bills the best?

Handling business phone calls takes place in Le Master Bedroom. The downside of talking on the phone is that the sleep deprivation in my voice tends to shine through at some point.

I’M THE RECREATIONAL COORDINATOR.

I know there are parents that don’t believe in letting their kids watch much television. I’m not “parents”. With 6 kids, television has saved my life! I’d rather not have a conference call with Geico and my 4 year old.

Jessica constantly asks to watch Doc McStuffins. How many times have I watched the same three episodes of Doc McStuffins? “Time for your check-up! Time for your check-up!”

Sometimes Jessica will lie in an effort to spring me from my work. “Mom! My tv turned off!”.

As I walk to her room, I hear the familiar theme song, “Time for your check-up! Time for your check-up!”, followed by a tiny snicker. Why is she like this?

Playing “pretend” with dolls should be a crime. Somehow, I always end up with the doll who is missing hair. I also have to give the dolls voices. Jessica stays on my neck.

On a beautiful day, we might go outside. Jessica’s favorite activity is “Hide and Seek”. I love pretending that I don’t see her hiding behind that tree.

Julian has half days, so he gets off of the bus at 12pm. It’s time for lunch. While the kids are napping, I try to get some cleaning in.

I’M THE CHEF EXTRAORDINAIRE.

Before I know it, it’s 3:15pm. That means it’s time to cook dinner. On a good day, my family is getting a five-course meal. On a stressful day, everyone is eating a “big ole pot of spaghetti”, as my mother calls it. I’m constantly finding new ways to diversify my menus, but my kids are so picky. Donnie is just grateful to get a bite to eat. Bless his heart. My kids start getting off of the bus at 3:45, with the last child arriving home at 4:45pm. Dinner is on the table at 5pm.

I’M A TUTOR.

First of all, common core is from the works of the Satan. I have to relearn what my kids are learning in order to help them with homework. What the Hell is a number bond? I try to refrain from teaching my kids how I learned growing up because I don’t want to confuse them. I’ll just be confused instead. Donnie arrives home at 6:30pm, just in time to dodge the chaos.

I’M THE HOUSEKEEPING MANAGER.

It’s time for chores. Call it controversial, but I call it teaching responsibility. The kids will not die from sweeping a floor, trust me. My older kids have a set list of chores to do every evening. This lasts about 30 minutes…..unless one of them decides to throw dirty laundry in a closet or hide trash under a bed. Sigh!

I’M A GUIDANCE COUNSELOR AND MEDIATOR

Sometimes I notice that one or more of my children seem unusually quiet. They hate the repeated “Is everything okay?”. I genuinely want to know. Let’s figure it out! Sometimes school is difficult because of other kids or schoolwork. Sometimes one child may feel like he or she is getting a little less attention than the other.

Being the mediator is fun. How many fights have you had to break up? Do you love mediating stupid arguments? All of that comes with having multiple children. It’s annoying, but as siblings grow, they start getting on each others nerves. They still love each other, I promise.

DOWNTIME(sort of)

Once chores are done and booties are washed, my kids have earned electronics privileges. After overloading the WiFi bandwidth for an hour, my kids are sent to bed. This doesn’t mean they are sleeping. Julian and Joshua spend at least an hour jumping around and kicking the walls before the silence happens.

Now it’s time for me to get my life together before I lay down for the night. My “night” includes maybe 3 hours of sleep. As a matter of fact, I’m up at 3:00am writing this.

Being a stay-at-home parent is not for the selfish. It’s just another sacrifice that parents make for their families everyday. The reward will come one day. In the meantime, have a pitcher of margaritas on standby, and enjoy your kids before they start smelling themselves!

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

Dinner And A Show: Why going out to eat is hectic!

Having children with severe autism is difficult at home, but it is also difficult outside of the home.

Julian and Joshua will not sit still during any meal. When plates are placed on the table, Joshua will immediately climb on the table, and pick the food that he wants off of each plate. After that, he will jump off of the table and hop away.

Julian will take whatever food he wants off of his plate and run to the nearest corner with his tablet. Sometimes he will come back to steal someone’s drink.

This happens every single day during any meal. It’s exhausting because the other kids won’t guard their plates. Not to mention, naked Joshua is not what we crave to see while we are eating. I expressed before how my boys don’t like wearing clothes or diapers….

Anyway, the last peaceful dinner outing that my family had was when my twins were newborns. This was the Mother’s Day after they were born. My husband took us all to Chili’s. The only issues we had stemmed from Julian throwing his food on the floor, and Avery spilling his drink. He always does that for some reason.

My golden rule is to leave the waiter no less than $20 for a tip. I do this because kids are messy, and I used to bus tables. It’s not fun. Have you ever had to clean corn kernels off of the floor?

The food was good. The trip was smooth sailing. I had to feed the twins, obviously. We had a great day.

Last year, we took a family trip to Ruby Tuesday for Mother’s Day after a couple of decent trips to Golden Corral.

It wasn’t a fun experience. Yes, the boys had on clothes. My husband and I were prepared with snacks, cups of milk, and fully charged tablets. Unfortunately, that was not good enough that day. Julian and Joshua didn’t want to sit in their booster seats. After they tried to destroy the blinds, Julian made his way behind the bar, and Joshua decided to munch on the kiddie menu crayons.

Attempts to redirect them were disastrous. The tantrums were bad, but the stares were worse. I had that familiar, idiotic grin on my face as I was staring back at the other bewildered dinner guests. I hate that I always have to explain why my sons have meltdowns in public. Why can’t people just mind their business? I know they weren’t paying for dinner and a show, but why I just wish everyone understood autism.

Not gonna happen….

Donnie and I were each holding a screaming and flailing toddler. We didn’t even notice that our food had arrived. By the time we got the boys partially calmed, the food was cold.

At that point, I was ready to go. Donnie took all of the kids to the car. I stayed behind to straighten up our mess and take care of the check.

“Never again!” I screamed in my mind.

We did it again…..

A couple of months later, we took our annual vacation to Myrtle Beach. I was excited to try Joe’s Crab Shack. I literally could not shut the hell up until we got to this place.

After a morning of shopping and recreation at Broadway at the Beach, Donnie and I freshened the younger kids up and we headed for the restaurant. Right outside of Joe’s Crab Shack was a vendor who was selling these yelping toy dogs. Jessica desperately wanted one. I was about to say “Hell no”, but Jessica has this charm about her. I reluctantly took out my wallet, and purchased a toy fo for each of the younger kids. These dogs didn’t even come with batteries. It’s all about money. Sigh!

We made our way into the restaurant. I decided to have my family sit at one of the picnic tables outside. It was hot, but I figured that the kids would be too distracted by the playground.

After 20 minutes, we had still not seen a waiter. Julian and Joshua were starting to lose patience. I was too, but I understand that things can happen i food service.

The meltdowns started after another 20 minutes of waiting. Julian and Joshua started throwing tantrums on the ground. I started panicking. Donnie went to find a waitress. When Donnie returned, we were relocated to a table inside. The cool air felt heavenly!

We strapped Julian and Joshua into high chairs and gave them crayons and paper. Another 15 minutes passed, and we had still not seen a water. I was fed up. Julian and Joshua started crying again. This time, they refused consolation. I located a waiter and explained to her that I had autistic children and need to eat and go.

We finally got our drink order after an hour of waiting. Several waiters were scrambling to get our food orders. By then, there were crayons all over the floor, and the boys were screaming and failing. Donnie’s desperate attempts to console them were in vain. I was trying my best to avoid the stares that I felt, while reassuring my other children.

An idea clicked in my head. Julian kept throwing his crayons on the floor, so I thought to let the boys out of their chairs. I let them lay on the floor. That seemed to do the truck. They both began sorting the crayons. It was quiet. There were a lot of judgmental stares. I know people were thinking, “why would she let her kids lay down on that dirty ass floor?!” I get it. I would ha e thought the same thing years ago, but at that time I would’ve given anything for my boys to be content. God made soap and water, and God made washers and dryers. They were going to be fine.

We finally got our food and were able to eat. The food wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t anything that I couldn’t make at home. However, I wasn’t going to make that food at home, and I was just grateful to have food at that time.

Though Julian and Joshua had meltdowns, and our service wasn’t that great, I slapped that $20 tip on the table. No matter what happened, waiters have a difficult job, and my kids’ mess made it that much harder. We will never eat out again though(I’m probably lying).

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle

My Autoimmunity: Apart Of Me

It started with a sudden outbreak of eczema when I was 12. It was everywhere, head-to-toe. Some rashes felt like sandpaper, some felt like leather, and some had a bumpy texture. Imagine the itch. It was a miserable experience that I would go on to live with for 6 years.

The lymph node on the side of my neck was comparable to the size of a golf ball. It didn’t hurt. It was just a big, ugly, protruding gland. I had noticed it’s formation for a long time, but I wasn’t really alarmed until I noticed it’s growth.

My mother was very proactive. Every time she noticed, or I pointed out a symptom, she was writing in a journal. I remember how she missed so much work taking me to different specialists. It was hard to tell that my mother had a job at one point.

I was seeing dermatologists, endocrinologists, rheumatologists, hematologists, you name it. I might have even seen an oncologist at one point. My eczema had gotten so bad that it was feared that I had skin cancer. I was sent to the children’s hospital, where I had a skin biopsy. No cancer was detected. I didn’t really understand what was being discussed at these appointments. I just knew that I was I was always having tests run, procedures, surgeries, and hospital stays.

At 13, I had an operation to remove the lymph node in my neck. This was my first surgery. I remember my parents arguing over my upcoming surgery. My mother just wanted answers, but my father was worried that I would have a giant scar on my neck. I ended up having the surgery at a hospital on a Saturday. I remember being terrified. My father had to go to work, but he was there before I went into the operating room. He kissed me on the forehead before I disappeared behind those heavy double doors.

I woke up with a stiff neck. My mother was there, waiting at my bedside. After spending some time in recovery, I went home.

I had a follow-up appointment on Monday with some ologist. I remember being whisked out of the room. My doctor asked me to go take a walk while she talked to my mother. After awhile, the appointment was over. We loaded into the white Dodge Caravan and went home. At least, I thought we were going home.

Our destination was the hospital. I immediately went into panic mode.

I started crying, and I refused to get out of the van. My mother had to call my father to calm me down. It didn’t work. My mother got me out of the van anyway. She checked me in at the registration desk, and we rode the elevator to my room. This was my first hospital stay.

I was in the hospital for several weeks. I hated it. Every time I turned around, I was being stuck with a needle, or wheeled to a different room for testing. The hospital was 45 minutes away from home, and my mother tried her best to make it as much as she could. She still had kids to care for at home. My mother would bring me food because I hated the hospital food. One morning , I woke up to her by my bedside. I wasn’t expecting to see her face. That’s when I learned that I had a medical emergency in my sleep. My dad worked about 15 minutes away from the hospital, so he would come see me after work. Sometimes I didn’t notice because it was very early in the morning. During one of his visits, I woke up to the smell of chicken. My daddy was throwing down on some KFC. This was at a period of time when I was on a strict liquid diet. I was mad. All my father could say was, “I’m sorry, Antonia. I’m hungry.”.

I was in a children’s unit, so I was able to play video games and interact with other patients. There were even computers for kids to do online schoolwork.

All of this time, I had missed so much school. I missed several months of 8th grade and several months of 9th grade. I was homeschooled two days out of the week. My mother would drive me to the library to meet with my teacher.

Returning to an actual classroom in 9th grade was an odd experience. It seemed that no one knew why I suddenly dropped off of the face of that planet. It took me awhile to get readjusted and reacquainted. I was still dealing with severe eczema, which made me feel very self conscious. Some days it hurt to walk because my skin was so dry. Some days my skin would crack and bleed. My skin itched so bad that I would scratch my living skin off. My skin had gotten so thin that it didn’t even hurt. I still have scars from that. My skin would literally evaporate moisture. It still does, honestly. I almost never exposed skin that wasn’t on my face or hands because I was ashamed of my scars and patches. Even when I visited family in Florida, my extremities were covered. I didn’t care what the weather was.

I was trying to have a normal social life, but I was just so awkward. Let’s just face it though, nobody was checking for me before I got sick. Only a few close friends knew what I was dealing with. Those same few friends visited me when I was home bound.

I had another surgery in 10th grade. This time, a lymph node was removed from under my arm. This surgery was outpatient, and I went back to school the following Monday.

According to my medical records, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 15 and Lupus when I was 16. My mother was really good about keeping up with important papers…. Maybe she was really bad at throwing things away.

My eczema cleared by the time I was 18. My mother was able to find a Rheumatologist who recommended a treatment combination that actually worked. I still had occasional rashes, but nothing worth crying about.

I had no major flares until after I had Avery. I remember always feeling sick and in pain. I tried to stay at my job through all of this, but I always felt dizzy and uncomfortable. This time, I wasn’t pregnant. I ended up quitting my job, and I was home bound again. A few friends/coworkers came to visit me during that time. I went to see a Rheumatologist for the first time in years. She was a very nice doctor. I carried all of my medical records with me. The student doctor browsed the thick folders. I told her what some of my symptoms were. One symptom was something I never experienced before. I had hard lumps beneath my skin. The student doctor gently told me that they were due to my weight. They were not.

My actual doctor walked back into the room and examined me. After a few questions, she ordered bloodwork and gave me a prescription.

About a week later, I received an email that confirmed both of my diagnoses. I was given another prescription for a steroid. I’m no stranger to steroids. I took my first one in 8th grade. After several months, I was able to get my life back on track.

Today, I am feeling like myself. I still have flares, but they have been manageable. My worst flares are triggered stress. When I’m not feeling well, I feel like I’ve been run over. I’m achy, swollen, my lungs hurt, my rash appears, and I have no energy. I have to force myself out of bed on days when Donnie goes to work. When I’m not having a flare, I feel pretty good. Arthritis will always cause the occasional ache or pain, but my joints are still functioning well.

Just because you don’t see my sickness, that doesn’t mean I am not sick. You can’t see how my body attacks me internally. My immune system is literally my enemy. I can have the same common cold for many months.

God is good, however. He has been very good to me. I am still able to live a pretty normal life. My joints are on fire this morning, but I’m about to get on my bike and have a productive day.

Categories
Parenting

Postpartum Depression: Don’t Suffer In Silence

Despite hating the pregnancy process, I loved the bond the I had with each of my children. That natural love and nurturing instinct that expectant mothers feel with their child(ren) in utero is undeniable.

I don’t know how to describe it, but the bond you have with your baby while you are pregnant is different from the bond you have with your baby when he or she is born

Now you’re about to meet your child. You have been anxiously awaiting for this beautiful moment for 40 long weeks. The next time you bring your baby home, he or she will share the experience of your world.

For many mothers, the moment doesn’t start out as beautifully. After all of the adrenaline wears off, negative emotions start to deep in.

Of course you love your baby. It’s not the baby’s fault. Imagine just having a tiny human ejected from your body. The same tiny human who kicked you relentlessly, made you nauseous, and was the reason you always slept.

Now that baby is living on the outside of you. You are shocked into a new reality.

I suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of all of my children. Each time brought a different experience.

I suffered the most after I had my oldest. When I was pregnant as a teenager, it didn’t seem like I had as much responsibility. Just go to the doctor and stay nourished, right? Was I hoping everything would fall into place after I gave birth? Kind of.

I had a traumatic labor and delivery experience in the first round. People tell you all of the time how the routine goes, but there is nothing like experiencing it. I was scared when I went felt the first contractions, the epidural that I was given didn’t work, and I tore to my asshole. That was the easy part.

When I held Ariana for the first time, reality came crashing down on me. I spent most of my pregnancy crying because I felt worthless. A lot of people looked down on me. I had no plans or structure. I felt entitled to help that I was not entitled to.

The truth is, I expected my mother to rescue me. The reality was that she couldn’t. Even through our ups and downs, and despite her being upset, I felt like my mother was the main one in my corner. I burned so many bridges when I was growing up, but the bridge of my mother’s love was indestructible. Thank God for infrastructure week!

First, I became angry. I was angry at myself for wasting time. I was angry because instead of preparing, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was angry because I only had a car seat, 8 onesies, 4 bottles, and $30 to my name when my baby was born. I blamed everyone, but myself. I started to question if I had made the right choice.

Anger turned into self-doubt. How am I going to do this? I can’t do this!Why didn’t I let another family give my child a better life? Why am I so selfish?

Self-doubt turned into sadness. By the time Ariana was three days old, I was overwhelmed. My baby wouldn’t stop crying and she barely slept. I couldn’t stop crying, and my appetite quickly diminished. I guess I can credit postpartum depression for my “Snapback”

I received inpatient treatment for postpartum depression. Being away from my newborn for a week was different. My parents were taking care of Ariana, so I knew that she was in good hands.

Being in the hospital was an odd experience. Yes, I saw someone get “the needle”. Yes, I was traumatized. I felt like I was in a daze the whole time I was there. I wanted to go home. Every morning, I was given a pill. After the nurse checked to see if I swallowed, I went to the common area for group therapy. It wasn’t productive. Then, I went back to my room for 1-on-1 therapy with a doctor. The rest of the day was pretty much free time. All of the patients gathered in the TV room to watch reruns of “America’s Next Top Model”. This was the routine for 7 long days.

I had to get out of there. I did anything I could to prove to the doctor that I was ready to go home. I faked a spark in my personality and a glee in my voice. I became very social with the other patients.

My ruse worked. I was on my way back to my daughter. My mother offered to keep Ariana another night so that I could get readjusted. I refused the help. I wanted to be with my daughter.

Reconnecting with Ariana was very difficult. She still cried a lot, but that wasn’t the reason why I was still struggling. My daughter wasn’t to blame for any of it. I shouldn’t have never pretended to be well so that I could leave the hospital. At the very least, I should have accepted my mother’s help. Yet again, I was selfish.

Today, I am glad to be a wiser woman. I can admit my mistakes and learn from them. Remember, we are not perfect. We will all reflect on our mistakes. This is fuel for growth.

Postpartum depression is very real, and not to be taken lightly. When starting a family, make sure that you have a strong support group. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. If you feel like you may be suffering from postpartum depression, seek help immediately. Don’t ever think that you are above this. There is no timetable for recovery, but you will feel better. We all love our babies, but the most important thing to remember is that self-care is VERY important.

Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call the emergency number in the country you reside in(United States 911).

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Parenting

Growing Pains: From Ignorance to Insight

You cannot change what you refuse to acknowledge.

So, I did it. I had to call myself to the carpet.

It took me awhile, but I had to reconcile with the fact that I was not the best mother for my child.

I became a young, single, mother at the age of 19. I was very immature and unestablished. Still, I was determined to parent my child.

Many may applaud my decision to raise my child, despite adversity, but I felt completely selfish. Even though I had nothing, I felt like I owed it to my daughter to take care of her. I didn’t want to give up on her.

I was selfish because my daughter had to endure the consequences of my immaturity at that time. How is that admirable?

Even when a parent grasps any level of maturity, the mind still needs to continue elevate it’s way of thinking.

I say this because parenting has different levels. We all like to think that we know who our kids are. The truth is that our kids are on a constant path of self-discovery. If we as parents create a hostile dynamic, or operate with closed minds, we will never know who our kids truly are.

Our kids will spend a lifetime trying to transform into who they think will please you.

This is why I have blunt conversations with my children. I don’t want them to run with the misconception that “Mommy was perfect, therefore, I need to fill her shoes.”. I want to show my vulnerability, so in return they can show theirs.

The truth is, there is absolutely NOTHING that I can think of that will make me love my kids any less. I let them know this on a regular basis.

My child could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot me and I wouldn’t love him or her any less.

Now, i don’t have a favorite, but if one of my kids deposits a small loan of $1 million in my account….

If you are interested in jewelry, I sell paparazzi jewelry through my business, “Antonia’s Glamsc8pe”. Feed your $5.00 habit at my online store:

https://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com