Enabling isn’t love

When you love someone you don’t want to see them hurt, you desire to help them.

That “help” is not always the best thing for them. Or you.

Enabling is selfish, it’s not love.

We enable others when we aren’t looking at the big picture. When we compromise our values and morals to save them from themselves. Whether it’s as simple as covering for someone at work or more complicated like giving an addict money to bail them out of some jam…it is absolutely not helping them, or you.

Love means having boundaries, staying true to yourself, seeing the real picture, and keeping the door open for when others want to join you.

We selfishly enable people for a host of reasons….to make them happy, so they don’t get mad, so they don’t get in trouble, to keep the peace.

What peace are you keeping?

In the case of parenting it is super hard sometimes.

We want our children to succeed. We don’t want them to suffer.

We also want them to be functional members of society and that means taking responsibility for their own actions.

Not covering them up.

My oldest son was brought home by the police when he was 15. Caught with a bunch of friends having broken into a community pool and swimming in the middle night….with backpacks of stolen alcohol from home. When the officer showed up at the door, with my son sheepishly behind him, he said that this type of infraction would typically involve a night at the local jail.

I told the officer to take him to jail then. He did the crime, he can do the time.

Both my son and the officer looked at me like I was nuts.

I meant every word.

A night in jail wasn’t going to kill him, it was the price he had to pay for his actions. Saving him from the consequences was teaching him that the rules didn’t apply to him, that he was not responsible for his own behavior, and that other people would bail him out.

Now that night the officer left him with me at home, he didn’t wish to take him into custody, and my son remained at home to wait out his time until court.

It was a rough time for sure.

Saving him from all of it by pulling strings, covering up, asking for favors – would have spared him the uncomfortable gift of growth.

It took a while for his teenage mind to grasp the cause and effect of his choices. The power he had to shape his future, and the reality that it was his to craft.

During that time there was a lot of boundary testing, anxious feelings, hurt, and uncertainty.

The outcome was worth it, 1000 times over.

I see others who have grown up without true love, given instead an enabling & selfish love – they play victim more often than not, responsibly is an afterthought, and instant gratification rules the day. People pleasers to the max, very caught up in appearances over substance.

Perhaps they are victims after all. Being robbed of the experience of growing up by being coddled and praised for outrageous behaviors without any moral guidance, they then pass this culture on, obliviously, to others.

It’s a sad cycle.

True love is honest. It’s raw. You can count on it. Based in reality it is like Miracle Grow for people….turning budding seedlings into mighty oaks.

It’s simple, not easy. It’s important. It’s fundamental.

I wish to love all in my life in this way.

I admit I have a hard time sometimes.

I’ve rationalized, made excuses, and turned a blind eye. All done thinking I was protecting and supporting, when in reality I was enabling while crushing my soul to save my ego.

Drawing boundaries was hard. Having them with grace proved even more difficult. Loving someone and giving them space to be them, when it very well might mean they choose a space you are not in, is scary af.
It’s also necessary for survival.

I’m not being over dramatic here.

Codependency and addiction kill – typically slowly and painfully.

Ignorance is not bliss. Look at all of the school shootings – there are troubled children out there who need guidance – not gadgets.

Spend time with your children, choose wisely those you spend time with, respect yourself and others.

More love, less enabling.

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At night…

This is where my mind spins the most.

I ponder the day and let my brain chase whatever squirrel it finds…

Sometimes it is too much for me…I attempt to quell the noise with work or food or sleep.

Other times I’m inspired, connecting dots and accepting the new vision before me.

And then there are the times when I get stuck in it. The sticky dark is what I call it.

When I lament my choices and am far from kind to myself.

Thankfully those times are few and far between.

I think back to the book “Miracle Morning”…I wish there was one for the evenings too….a plan to adhere to when I’m stymied by choice.

I heard recently that clutter is simply delayed decisions.

While the context of the quote was tangible, it applies to my head as well.

Perhaps the overwhelm would slow down a bit if I stopped spinning my wheels and living in the middle.

It’s an awful place to be. Not one thing, not another.

A nothingness full of everything.

I will tire soon, my eyes will get heavy, and I will be relieved as sleep befalls me.

Hoping to make magic tomorrow.

I see now, by the glow of my phone, that magic is simply waiting for me to clear out the clutter and decide.

A shitty moment does not define the day.

Today was a 9, although it started flatlined, even negative….  As I reflect, I’m actually surprised I didn’t let it totally derail me. I sit here quite contented that I had a good day, maybe there really has been a wee bit of personal growth over the last few months…
So y’all know about MS, and my recent 6 day fast in an attempt to reset. Well, it didn’t work. One by one my symptoms came back, worse. My best guess is that there might be some sort of food allergy (getting tested next month) or that the stress of the whole ordeal set me off. 

One of my original presenting symptoms was bladder control – at 29 I was mortified. Still am. For the most part it is controlled, only when things get really bad does it come into play. Like last night.

Great way to start the day. Add the second snowless snow day for Dyl, contractors ripping apart my master bath, and a full schedule – I was stressed to the max the second I woke up. 

A little short on patience as baby d dilly dallied his way to breakfast, he responded with “I wish I was at papa’s house.” That was one hell of a dagger. I held it together, or so I thought I did, as I limped downstairs to the kitchen when I started sobbing. Piling on the self blame for everything from MS to leaky showers to the dissolution of my first marriage, I threw my tea mug in the sink – and shattered 3 more glasses that were in there in the process. Tears streaming down my face, I began cleaning it up and getting breakfast ready. 

Contractors arrive, noise ensues. I serve Dylan his breakfast – complete with strawberry smoothie – that he promptly spills all over the table, chair, and into the cat food. 

I literally just finished the great glass massacre cleanup when the strawberry disaster occurs. 

More tears. This time both of us. 

Meanwhile phone is blowing up, banging from above, cat wants food – life is still going on.

Don’t they know I hurt? Don’t they know that everything in this moment totally sucks? 

Or does it. 

I took a deep breath. Refocused. Pulled up my big girl panties and proceeded with the day.

And you know what? It got better. Things got done. Progress was made. Joy was had. 

So much so that this morning was but a distant memory that I was only reminded of just now when I went to climb into bed, and realized I never finished washing the sheets.

Life is what we make of it. It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we respond. My tears and guilt were normal reactions, it’s ok to feel those feelings, process them, and move on. 

When we stay stuck or try to avoid feeling them, we don’t serve ourselves or the universe. We reject the gift that each day is and we let our future be decided for us. That is a life by default.

Mine is a life by design. 💖 

Being a mama is a wild wild ride

My eyes are overflowing as I look at my Facebook “on this day” and hear my baby boy’s voice….

There are times as a mama that I am certain that I am f*cking everything up. That I could be better, read more, teach more, have more patience, be present more often, hug more, laugh more, live more….Was I too hard on the oldest? Am I too lenient with the youngest? Not present enough with the middle? Should I have stayed married to their dad? Fed them more veggies? Brought them that extra glass of water at bedtime?

Hell, tears are literally streaming down my face as I flash back over the last two decades of parenting….I’ve been a mama longer than I haven’t at this point in my life and my youngest is only in Kindergarten…my parenting road is long and never-ending. It’s full of gifts I couldn’t even have imagined. It’s the hardest damn job I’ve ever had and the best at the same exact time. Having children means exposing your heart to the world, watching them grow, setting the best example possible, and holding your breath as you witness their learning in progress.

Could I have done better?  I ask myself this frequently. Am I being the best human  I can possibly be in this very moment to set a positive example for my babies? Yes. Though some times I don’t have much available at that nanosecond in time.

I was just a baby myself when  I got pregnant. 21, single, trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up – or more often – what to wear on a Friday night…. My first instinct was that having a baby was NOT a good idea. I didn’t tell their dad, instead I told my BFF and made my clinic appointment. I walked in that day and changed my life forever. I walked out scared, elated, determined and for the first time in my short life – thinking not about what I wanted to do – instead I had a new priority – my child. That was it – from that very moment on – I have not been guided by my wants/needs but those of my children. Every decision, from work to grocery shopping to schools to trips, is made with them in mind. How will this impact their wiring, their future, the world?

And then I hear Andrew’s song, or see Jace play with Dyl and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I did something right. I always wanted to make the world a better place, and lookie there – I did – through them.

Shine on baby boys – mama loves you more than you know. Thank you for, everything. ❤