Stop Judging and Start Loving

Often it is too easy to judge another persons parenting ability without fully understanding the method behind the madness. Cause you know.. the old saying goes “it takes a tribe to raise a child.”

“Don’t judge a person without full understanding of the situation. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean that you are right.”

Lately, something has been getting on my nerves.. and that something is the stink eye from ignorant and impatient people. Like I have mentioned before, my five year old son Lucas has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). As quoted from the Royal Children’s Hospital ADHD is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. The three most common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. The disorder can impact upon the child’s ability to learn and develop their social skills, and also family functioning.

There is no denying that my son has a clear case of ADHD because most days it is a battle zone. This is no exaggeration either, the kid has aged me by about ten years. I have greys on my head with a style that you would best find on a skunk. My poor husband.. the top of his head is almost as smooth as our ten month old’s butt. Depending on the day, it can even develop a nice shine (sorry love). So even though without a doubt he tests our boundaries and pushes our patience, we still love him unconditionally and can sympathise with other parents who are equally having a shit day with their children.

Going out in public is our hardest test. Most recently, I took him to the cinema for a treat as we had been quarantined to the home following a gastro outbreak. We had a ‘chat’ before we went into the cinema, and again when we took out seats. Looking back I was pretty calm about it all, but gut instincts were telling me that it wasn’t going to end well. Lucas gets this glazed look in his eyes where it kind of looks like no one is available to take your call. Anyways.. within twenty or so minutes of the movie starting I was packing the bag and taking the pram out of the movie. Then there was this high pitched scream that followed me. It was obvious to everyone around me that I was getting anxious, my eyes were watering, and my voice was beginning to crack. All I got in return from the other patrons was judging eyes and filthy scowls. It can be be debilitating when you are being judged with such contempt.

Then there are the times where we go do basic chores at the local shops, or we go for a trip to the maze of Bunnings, and very rarely a play centre. This is where we get the other end of the spectrum. We are firm but fair on him.. at all times. Under no circumstances do we give this kid sugar as it just perpetuates his symptoms more. Whilst shopping we were telling Lucas that sugar was poison.. well it kind of is.. and then this elderly woman said right to my husbands face “God will get you!” It made him do a double take because surely a stranger wouldn’t say that, but when he asked her again what she said she again said to his face “God will get you!” Thankfully husband has a thick skin and he calmly said to her “No he won’t.. ”

Back to the sugar, having to tell people that your son is not allowed to have lollies, cakes or chocolate, people look at you sideways like you have two heads. Honestly what is the big deal? At times I have to be a hawk eye on Lucas as he will casually invite himself to take part in the festivities you find at birthday parties. He has drunk half consumed milkshakes with my back turned, ate crumbs from the floor, and I have even had parents come and ask me if they can buy him food (for example hot chips or a muffin). Now I see the kindness.. I really do.. but really? Watching what he eats is extremely important for us as food which contains high amount of sugar causes him to have an allergic reaction. Could you imagine the outrage if I was to give a child nuts and they have a nut allergy. Not so nice is it?

So here are three reasonable things to consider when you see a child that is causing grief to their Mum, Dad or Carer.

  1. If the parent is visibly upset, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they are okay or if they need a hand. I was once helped by a store cleaner and it honestly saved my sanity.
  2. Keep your bad looks and opinions to yourself. You have no idea how shit this can make another human being feel. Again the saying goes “it takes a tribe to raise a child.”
  3. If a parent is having a go at their child, don’t think that they are an awful parent. They just might be at the end of their tether because their kid has been an incessant nag.

So that is it my loves.. hopefully that gives you a little insight about what it is like in the home with an ADHD child.

Much love

Melanie xo

 

Good Riddance 2016

2016 – Definitely Not an Odyssey

Well, 2 days into the new year and it feels largely the same as 2016!

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that by some kind of divine intervention, the coming of a new calendar year is somehow going change them (new year, new me). Or that it may  bring them some kind of different life. As though there is some kind of divine being in control of their fate, a ‘Sky Wizard‘ if you will!

I’m not about to start waxing lyrically about how I’m a pessimist, or a realist (of which I am neither) or any other kind of ‘ist’ really. If I was forced to choose one like my very existence relied upon it, I would be somewhere between optimist and opportunist.

For me, I strongly believe that we are in full control of our own destiny. We are our own Sky Wizard, and as such, it’s up to us to get about fixing the things we don’t like. And let me tell you, there was a lot about 2016 that was not to like. I’m sure everyone has their own list of reasons that 2016 could fuck right of and your probably damn well happy that it has!

However, on the other hand, there was a lot about 2016 that was to like, a lot!

2016 was a year of change for us in the Edge household. The first half was pretty mundane. Work was pretty straightforward, Mel was plowing through her pregnancy (and bags of chips) with flying colours. Lucas was getting in trouble looking under the toilet doors as school (to see people wee), and we were fostering rescued Greyhounds. By all accounts, most likely an average 6 months in an average Australian family of 3.

The second half of the year was where things got interesting.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of my (our?) year was finally getting to meet Flynn. You can read the story of his Birth here. He is an incredibly sweet, calm and easy going little boy. He has brought a sense of calm to us both that we didn’t know before, both Mel and I love him dearly. As we do both of our sons.

Mel had made the decision to take a full 12 months maternity leave after Flynn was born. A decision that had (and still has) my full support. When Lucas was 6 months old, Mel made the tough decision of returning to work. Even though things have worked out fine, has always felt that this was the wrong thing to do.

And you know what, even though money is tight, we shop at Aldi, and no longer eat meat, things have been great! Both boys are thriving, Mel is a lot more relaxed (most days) and she has an incredible bond with the boys that is completely different to mine.

I reckon anyone that claims to be a perfect father is fooling themselves, but not fooling anyone else. Parenting is hard work! It’s the hardest bloody thing I’ve ever done. And it’s a heck of a lot of responsibility. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way? It’s our job, to care for, nurture and mold this person into the kind of adult that will be able to function in an ever changing society. That’s some heavy shit right there! I’m flat out most days just getting myself to do the things that I need to to get through my day. Brush my teeth, shower before work, no sugar in my 4th cup of coffee for the day. And that’s before 8am.

For my brother and I, we grew up in a pretty typical household. Dad worked (a lot), Mum did the household stuff, and we went to school. Both my parents are fantastic. They sacrificed everything to bring us from the UK to Australia in 1989, so I’m not about to get on my soapbox about how my childhood was hard, and that it’s not my fault that I am the way I am. But it is you see. Yes, Dad was quite authoritative and at times dictatorial, but we were kids. Pushing the boundaries, testing the limits and creating chaos wherever we went.

Do I want to be that kind of parent to my boys? No. Am I? Sometimes, yes. And it’s not until it’s too late, that I realise that I am slipping back into learned habits.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking ‘Why the bloody hell is he banging on about his daddy and 1989 when this is supposed to be about 2016?”. Well, I do have a point, and I’m getting to that (Shush Mel, my stories are important, however meandering.)

Back in October, we had Lucas assessed by a pediatrician. A pediatrician that charged us $400 to have us and his teacher do all the work for her. (I’m definitely in the wrong line of work.) Long story short, she came to the conclusion that Lucas has symptoms that suggest he has ADHD. I say suggest because I’m still not convinced, or i could just be reluctant to label the boy. Nonetheless, he does behave different to other boys his age and has issues recognising boundaries and when Mum and Dad are feeling the pressure of a constant barrage of begging for the tiniest morsel of our own dinner. Coincidentally exactly the same as his.

He can be an incredibly sweet boy, and has an amazing zest for life that i think all adults forget. Life has a nasty habit of making us get way too serious about things, and we can sometimes forget to have a sense of humor.

And here it is, the point of the last few paragraphs is that coming out of 2016 and in to 2017, we’ve had a lot of changes in our household. Quite significant ones at that. Most notable is the obvious additional mouth to feed (good on you love, you’re boobs are doing a great job!), we’ve had a significant drop in income while an increase in expenses and lastly. We’re having to completely redesign the way we parent. And it is unquestionably more of a lesson for Mel and I than it is for Lucas.

So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon that is full of people that proudly chime “Fuck off 2016!”, as we launch into what I’m going to call “Fuck yes, 2017!”

That’s all for now. I’d love to hear what you have said goodbye to in 2016! I’m sure you’ve got your own stories to tell.

If I’m not back in 5 minutes. Just wait longer!

To the Man who failed me..

Three words come to mind when I think of my Dad.

Narcissist, Selfish and Liar.

These days I have developed a love/hate relationship with my Dad, and to be frank with you it is leaning more towards hate. Growing up  I lacked a positive male role model and this was pretty evident when it came to the type of man that I would attract. There is this understanding that Father’s often influence the men we choose as partners. Thankfully, after several dud relationships and a lot of self love I was able to find and marry a genuinely lovely man and now share two gorgeous boys together.

Dad failed me before I was even born. When my Mum was several months pregnant with me, she discovered that he was having an affair with an another woman/women. I don’t know much about what actually happened during this time, but I remember being told a by Mum. She phoned him at the local Pub and threatened murder if he did not call it off! I was only a couple of weeks old at this point.

Dad failed me as a child.
He was an alcoholic, gambler, womanizer and chain smoker. Thinking back to when I was seven or eight, I remember coming home from school, and I was made to run to the laundry to fetch a bucket for him to vomit into. There was this other incident where I came home with my Mum to find him passed out naked on the floor of our lounge, head phones still attached to his head. This was the norm for us. Each afternoon after school, I would be given a gold coin and spend at the local Milk Bar. This was mostly done to keep me out of the house so he could drink until he was drunk. I also forgot to thank him for high dental bills due to regular fillings. Thank goodness for Health Insurance as I simply could not afford the bill.

His alcoholism was so bad that he hid his cans of beer in the cistern of the toilet and threw his evidence over the fence, into the back alley. There were so many, they required several large garbage bags after a neighbor demanded them removed. At the peak of his addiction he drank methylated spirits just so he could get that hit. He almost lost his job as a signalman for the Victorian Railway because he often went and continued to drink at work.

For obvious reasons his addiction placed pressure on his marriage to my Mum, so the fights and arguments were pretty gargantuan. I would be screaming, tears streaming down my face yelling at them to stop fighting. Mum once knocked him unconscious with a vacuum pipe, and even though it had a huge bend in the pipe it still continued to work well. I once got in the way of their argument. Dad grabbed me by my hair and aimed it at our glass sliding door causing it to crack. Plus at the peak of their fighting, knives were once drawn. Dad was warned by the Victorian Police that if another DVO was submitted then he would be removed from the home and would likely spend a short period of his life in jail. This was my life…

Dad failed me as a young woman.
Thankfully by then Dad had given his alcohol addiction away. However having an addictive personality it was always replaced with something else. I was troubled, and made very poor and uninformed choices, mostly because of my toxic home environment.

Have you heard about the cycle of domestic abuse? This is what I learnt and experienced during my very first relationship with a boy. I was fifteen when I first met him, he was a good eighteen months younger than me. Looking from the outside, he came from a well off and intelligent family however he was an abusive, controlling, manipulative and jealous young man. I was never given insight on how to respect myself or gain the respect of others, especially from boys. Looking back, its sad that I would have preferred to spend time with an awful boyfriend than be with my family. Plus the fact that nothing was done to help me.

Dad failed me as a woman.
Dad continued to have affairs, and this is what broke the camels back for my Mother. I was and remain thankful that their marriage was finally over. It was sweet relief, because honestly it was all I ever wanted. I wanted normalcy, I wanted the dysfunction to end, and most of all I hoped that I would have a better relationship with both my parents. There has been turbulent times with my Mum, but our relationship has just continued to blossom. I love her dearly, and it is nice to know that she is so thankful to have me as her daughter. However the relationship I now have with my Dad has only deteriorated further. Mostly after the way he treated my son Lucas when he was last visiting. He is known as Grumpy Poppy which is just sad.

Dad has failed me today.
I have two gorgeous sons, one he has met and one he is yet to meet. You see, I live in Perth and he lives in Brisbane so there is no denying that the distance is great. But, his partner and her mother will be flying to Perth next year, and he has decided not to come. He was even offered to have his flight paid for by his new mother in law. This broke my heart, and yet after having a confrontation with him he still chooses not to come. I have gotten to a point in my life where I think to myself if he was just not related to me, I would not pursue a friendship at all. So…why should I pursue a relationship with a man who chooses not to reciprocate my love?

What I am thankful for today. I am thankful for who I am. I like me…no, I love me. If it was not for my dysfunctional upbringing, I would not be the person I am today. I am a helper, I am a doer, and I love those who love me unconditionally. I am thankful that my sons have a positive role model, and I am thankful that I have a husband who respects me.

Thank you Dad for teaching me resilience, compassion, empathy, developing a thick skin, and having the ability to speak out. However I am not thankful for how I acquired these traits.

I feel better, I needed this post.

Much love

Melanie xx