7 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming A Parent, That I Wished I’d Known Sooner.

According to Wikipedia.org, the definition of “parenting” is as follows: “Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood.”

Jesus, that sounds serious.

I mean, that’s a lot of responsibility, and since it’s my job to “support” and “promote” all of those things, this means there’s a chance that I can royally screw it up.

When I first became a parent, I was clueless in regards to just about everything.  I have made lots of mistakes, but I’ve grown from them, and what works for me, might not work for you, it’s a learning process.

I’ve decided to share some tips, tricks and bits of advice that I wish I’d known sooner. Things that have not only made parenting easier, but also helped my children to flourish and become rad little people.

Get an app with toddler lock. Listen, if you have a baby, you know damn well that kid is scratching and clawing to get at your phone.  If you turn your back for 2 seconds, they are updating your Facebook status with baby-jibberjabber and liking the photos of people you were just secretly stalking. Babies are little geniuses and master the “unlock” patterns as soon as they exit the womb. Get a free toddler app like this and let them go crazy.  They can’t exit the screen, and this buys you time to wash dishes, talk to doctors or get 5 minutes of peace.

Purge, and purge often. All it takes is one holiday with relatives, and your house looks like  a Toys-R-Us exploded.  Chances are, your kid plays with the same 3 toys despite having 74 billion of them.  Kids will play with cardboard, shoes and toilet paper.  They don’t care.  Take a damn garbage bag in the kids room and stuff it with toys they aren’t attached to, or don’t even know exist, and take them to one of these places.  Not only will other kids benefit from your bag of goodies – but you will feel a thousand pounds lighter mentally. Trust me.

Make sure all your kids stuff goes back where it belongs. If I had a dollar for every freakin’ time I ran around this house like a chicken with my head cut off trying to locate socks, shoes, sippy cups and hair ties – I’d buy an actual person to live here and find the stuff for me. Like literally, purchase a human, I’d be that rich.  I now put things back where they go (most of the time), and while it takes an extra second to put it back, it saves me hours of pulling my hair out and shooting death glares at my kids as I run past them full speed, with a single shoe in hand.

Kids are smarter than you think  My son is 2.  When he finishes a meal, he asks if he can please be done, takes his plate to the sink and washes his hands – without me saying a word. Other times he collapses on the floor in hysterics claiming he can’t pull the blanket up over his legs. When they ask me to do something for them, I always ask them to first try themselves. Whether it’s toothpaste on a toothbrush or putting their own socks on, push your kiddos to do things they think they can’t, and both of you may be pleasantly surprised.

Proceed with caution when asking strangers in “Mom Groups” for advice. I learned this one the hard way.  After posting a photo of a red mark on my sons leg, a few mothers convinced me he’d been bitten by a Brown Recluse spider. I yanked him up, threw him over my shoulder and ran full speed to the car where we proceeded to speed to the hospital.  It was a pimple.  A pimple that cost me $4,500.  Thanks “Shelley” from Nebraska. If you are worried about your kid – call the doctor or a trusted relative. Don’t allow strangers in Germany to diagnose them based off of a photo.

Watch this video. If you don’t know what to do if your kid starts choking, (aside from panicking and swinging them around by their ankles). It’s under a minute, and may save a life.  Click Here.

Finally, Don’t answer all your kids questions. Whenever Aubrey asks me a question, instead of answering it,  I almost always ask her; “Well, what do you think?”  This allows her to get her gears turning, use her imagination and most times, come to her own conclusions. She is usually super excited when she answers her own questions, and it helps her to have confidence in her abilities and problem-solving skills.

 

That’s it for now, I’m sure I could think of a bazillion more, but it’s 11:00 p.m. and my son is refusing to sleep without me in there.  That’s another thing, I wish someone would have told me what a bad idea it was to put the baby in my bed with me.  It seemed fun at the time, but now I spend my nights getting karate kicked in the temple and punched in the eye sockets. I do love snuggling with him though, I’ll put him in his own bed soon, maybe, someday….When he’s 18.

Goodnight friends….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Quick Easter Message To Moms In Early Recovery.

Happy Easter my wonderful friends!

As I sat on the couch and watched my kids running around this morning, my heart filled with gratitude, my mind began wandering.

I began thinking about all of the moms in recovery, who are working to rebuild their lives, piece by piece.

The moms who didn’t have the opportunity to spend the night excitedly making special Easter baskets for their babies.

The moms who woke up this morning to heartbreaking silence.

The moms who wish more than anything that they could have watched as their babies gleefully popped colorful eggs open, their little faces covered in chocolate, giggling uncontrollably with excitement; but didn’t have that opportunity because they’re only just beginning their journey in recovery.

The moms who are busting their ass to repair relationships with their children after addiction.

I want you all to know that you have already given your children the greatest Easter gift they could ever hope to receive – you got sober.

I know firsthand the willpower, determination, resilience and strength it takes to put down the drugs, and head down the road of recovery without the one thing you’ve always counted on to make it through the days.

But you did it.

You may not see your children as often as you’d like yet, you may not see them at all.  They may be too young to understand, or they may be old enough to grasp what has happened, and hesitant to trust you just yet.

Either way, you have already taken the first and hardest step.  The blessings of recovery will come, but sometimes, they take longer than we’d like.  If you keep doing the next right thing, I can promise you that everything will fall into place, over time, in God’s time.  Trust in his process.

In case no one has told you lately, I am proud of you.  You are the definition of a miracle and have already overcome so much.  Please don’t be discouraged today, be grateful that you are alive to see this Easter Sunday, whether you have your little ones with you or not.

There is a lifetime ahead of you and plenty of time to make new memories.  Be patient, remain grateful for the progress you have made, continue taking it one day at a time and I promise, your life will be more beautiful than you can even imagine.

Where there is breath, there is hope….

Happy Easter.

 

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #19

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

The Egg Hunt From Hell.

Hi friends! I am wide awake because ice cream sounded good at midnight, and we don’t have the kids (whaaa?) so I hopped my fat a** into the car and did a soft serve run.  I am on day 3 of my diet, so now that the ice cream has been inhaled, I’m feeling a little guilty.  Only a little guilty though, barely.

Anyway, I had a very eventful day today.  To say the least.

The children and I went to find Easter eggs at “The Annual EGGstravaganza”,  ( get it?). I was due to meet Aubrey’s grandparents there at 9:30 am.  So when I woke up at 9:01 a.m., you can imagine the chaos that ensued.  Children screaming as I ran in circles, half asleep, like a dog chasing it’s tale.

Chastising my husband for not putting Kaiden’s socks on fast enough while violently shoving various objects into the diaper bag and trying to get my life together- it was good times.

I wore my pajama’s to the EGGstravaganza.

Yeah, I sure did. Because I don’t give a damn. And also I didn’t have time to change.

We made it on time (because I’m a superhero), and headed to the “2 year old area” of the egg hunt. The announcer came over the intercom and told everyone that the gates were about to open, and when they did – I s**t you not, all hell broke loose.

I thought I was at the Running Of The Bulls for a second.  People – mainly moms– were elbowing and shoving people to get into this damn gate.  I pulled Kaiden close to me, for fear that he might get whacked with a purse or rammed with a stroller.

These people were acting like the building was on fire and they were trying to escape. I had never seen anything like it and honestly, I was shocked. Like, listen Rebecca, these children are 2 years old and have no clue why they are even here, no need to hurl your kid over the wall and yell “Get in there and make Mommy proud, Tommy!”. Calm down.

When we finally entered the Gates of Hell, I noticed that eggs were randomly placed in various spots on the ground in order to make it easy for the tots to grab them and secure them in their baskets.  I saw a small pile and excitedly exclaimed “There you go Bubby! Go get some eggs!”.  Kaiden’s face lit up and he began trotting toward the spot.

Out of nowhere, this Mom and her son, hand in hand, cut Kaiden off at the pass and dove to the ground as if they were sliding into home plate.

They scooped the eggs up and began high-fiving one another, until the mother spotted another pile, and with a newfound determination and a wild look in her eye, she grabbed her son by the wrist and yanked him in that direction.

What, in the actual hell, just happened. Does this lady realize that she isn’t on an episode of American Ninja Warrior? It’s a damn egg hunt, for 2 year olds. I stared for a moment in complete shock, debating on whether or not it would be appropriate to knock her unconscious with an empty Easter basket, until I saw the confused look on Kaiden’s face and that snapped me back to reality.

My heart broke a little imagining how excited he was for those eggs before they were snatched up right in front of him.  I suddenly felt determined to get this kid some eggs.  I took out my earring and cracked my knuckles, then squatted down until he and I were eye to eye.

“Now you listen to me, son.  We are gonna get you some friggin eggs, okay, and they are gonna be the coolest eggs on the whole planet.  Then we are gonna open them, and eat the hell out of whatever is inside.  Now I want you to get out there, and show me what your made of.  On three! 1…2…3…break!”

Kaiden and I took off like horses out of a gate. Chloe clung to the sides of the stroller for dear life as I whipped and swiveled in and out of groups of people. Kaiden was trotting beside me with his war face on as we headed off on our mission. We weren’t leaving here until we got the goods.

“Kick him in the shin, Kaiden! Grab that egg!” I yelled as Kaiden and another child ran toward the same pink egg sitting alone on the ground. I cheered triumphantly as Kaiden rose from the dust holding it up.  “Put it in the damn basket let’s go!” I yelled over my shoulder as I charged forward toward the last remaining eggs, sitting alone in the corner, unclaimed.

I heard the clicking of heels on the ground next to me.  I glanced over my shoulder and saw a flash of blonde hair.  Hell no.  Not today Suzie, those are mine.  Chloe squealed with delight as I took a sharp right to cut her off.  I don’t even know where Kaiden was at this point, honestly.  I was on a mission to get my kid some friggin eggs, and if these mom’s wanted to play dirty, I was happy to oblige.

“Really?” soccer mom said as I began running full speed.  They were so close. I could see the shiny plastic glimmering in the sun as I approached.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the egg pile.  Out of breath and beaming with pride, I bent down to grab them and suddenly realized; they were empty.  An impatient child had apparently opened their eggs and seized the candy, leaving the discarded shells and wrappers here, for me to find.

I took a deep, defeated breath and tried to center myself.  I am an adult.  These are just eggs.  We can get them at the dollar store. Get your life together, Tiffany.  Also, where is your son?

Shit.

My son.

Panic rose within me as I frantically began searching for Kaiden.  “Momma, lookie me!” I swiveled around and realized he had been 2 feet away from me the whole time.  He was crouched down next to a bush and closely examining something.  I ran to him — thankful that he wasn’t kidnapped or trampled by a pair of Louis Vuitton’s — and I scooped him up into my arms and squeezed him.

I’m sorry we didn’t get you any eggs Bub, when we leave here we will get you some of your own, okay?” He had no clue what I was saying, he’s 2, but it made me feel better to say it. “Lookit Mommy, eggies!” he said, pointing to the ground near the bush.

His basket was sitting behind the bush – that must have been what he was looking at – and the inside of his basket, was filled with eggs.

My heart leapt from my chest. I don’t know how the hell it happened, where he got them, or if any children were hurt in the process, but he did it.  He got his Easter eggs, on his own.

As it turns out, some of the eggs had tickets for free bikes and theme parks, which somewhat explains the ravenous egg hunting mothers, but not really.

It ended up being a great day.  Kaiden and his sister gathered around a table and enthusiastically pulled their eggs apart to reveal the hidden goodies inside, (none of which were tickets for a bike, FYI).  We had delicious snacks and the children ran around the playground while periodically munching on Easter candy.

Did Kaiden have a blast at the egg hunt? Yes.  Did he know that at a few different points, his life was in danger? No.  Will I stick to strategically placing eggs around the yard and avoid mobs of crazy moms in the future? I’m not sure.  However if we do go to this event next year, I’ll be sure to wear running shoes and pack Pepper Spray.

Happy Easter, friends!

kgu

 

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #18

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

A Letter To My Pregnant Self About Having A Baby. (With Pictures)

 

Hey Tiff,

Congrats on the news! Woohoo! A baby. Terrifying, amirite?

Listen, I know right now you are a bundle of nerves.  You are currently experiencing every emotion known to man and are in desperate need of guidance.  Since Mom is in heaven, (and we obviously can’t call her there, which is stupid) I am here to save the day!!

I have some information and tips that I’d like to share with you, in hopes of preparing you for this exciting new journey! I’ve included pictures, In case your “Mom Brain” is in full effect and you don’t want to read words. Okay, here goes!

 

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Girl, the beginning is glorious.  You are gonna take 800 selfies of your fine ass, impressed with how cute you look pregnant.  You will imagine how your body is gonna snap back into shape once the baby is born and be the hottest M.I.L.F. in town….Okay, that’s fine.  Live in that moment. Just….yeah.  Good for you and your confidence.

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Buy some maternity pants asap though because, shit’s about to get real.

 

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Yeahhhhhh, so, staying in shape while pregnant won’t be as easy as you thought…It’s actually really friggin hard.

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Pregnancy is a great excuse to eat a lot.  You will use the term “I’m eating for two”, a few times too many.  Also, maybe don’t eat cheeseballs at 3:00am…every night.

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Sooooo, remember how you, um, thought you weren’t going to get any stretch marks because you were gonna lather yourself in coconut oil? Yeahhh. It didn’t work.

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There will come a day, when you desperately need him out of your body.  That also happens to be the day that time slows down, and every second feels like an hour and every hour a year. You will spend hours googling: “How to self induce labor” and will try numerous ridiculous tricks to get him out.  It won’t matter. Spoiler alert: He’s gonna be a week later.

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On that day you will decide that you’ve changed your mind about him being out, and would like to keep him in.

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But he’s a’comin whether you like it or not.  Which you will, once you hold him on your chest.  Also, I hope you weren’t too fond of celebrating your birthday, because from now on you two will share a birthday.

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Don’t worry, you didn’t accidently give birth to an old man.  All babies look like senior citizens in the beginning.

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Just when you think your husband can’t get any sexier, he is going to hold your son for the first time.  You are going to fall in love all over again ….Until it comes time to change diapers, he will lose some brownie points there.

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Okay, so, this is an important one.  Make sure his, erm, “part” is pointed downward in the diaper. Otherwise you will get pissed on numerous times a day and wonder if your baby is broken.

Also:

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One minute you are gonna be watching Dr. Phil, and the next, your breasts will become engorged and you will leak like a Faucet.  Put some breast pads on when you get out of the hospital.  Trust me.

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Okay so this one kinda sucks. Your “baby bump”, doesn’t go away just because the baby is born.  I know, FML right? It’s okay, it will over time. Give yourself time.  Enjoy the moments following the birth, instead of obsessing about your weight.  It’s a waste of precious time.

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Although this will be right around the time Facebook Memories reminds you of your pre-baby body.  DON’T LOOK AT YOUR FACEBOOK MEMORIES! – Yet.

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Speaking of, there are gonna be days when you do your hair and make up – even though you aren’t leaving the house – just to feel beautiful, because at times you will feel anything but.  That’s okay.  You do you girl.

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You are gonna freak about every scratch and bump on the skin of this new little being you’ve been entrusted to care for.  You will send countless photos pleading with your cousin to diagnose him over the phone.  He will be fine.  Everything will be fine. Chill.

You will soon discover that your husband is just a big kid.  Resist the urge to “correct” his parenting style.  Let him find his own way, and create his own bond with the child.  Let him be Dad.

Make sure you have plenty of storage on your phone, you are going to need it.  A million pictures of him in the same position will soon become the way you spend your free time.

Speaking of photos, you will keep your camera pointed at your sleeping child for about 7 hours a day, in an attempt to catch his adorable sleepy little smiles.  Although there are more constructive ways to spend your time, you will treasure these pics later, so stalk away!

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Hey, so, I know you’re a big fan of sleeping, bad news, those days are gone my friend.

The good news is, you get to dress him up in fun outfits on holidays, so, there’s that.

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Try not to get him started with electronics too soon.  It seems like a good idea at the time, but before you know it he will be throwing himself on the floor screaming, demanding you put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on for him.  Sometimes you will, just for a moment of peace. And by sometimes, I mean all the damn time.

The next bit is really important, it’s actually the reason I’ve decided to write this to you.

You are going to blink once…..

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And it will be his first birthday…Blink again…

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And it will be his second.

Time flies by faster than you realize, and one day you wake up and…

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Your baby, isn’t a baby anymore.

Treasure. Every. Moment.

. You are going to spend so much time worrying, wondering, obsessing and stressing.

You are going to spend way too many hours scrolling through Facebook and not enough staring at his face.  Put the phone down, and hold him instead.

Rock him, sing to him, embracing his crying and wipe his tears. Smile when it’s time to make him a bottle, enjoying the moments when he wakes you from sleep to comfort him.  In those moments, he needs you. 

One day you will blink, and he won’t anymore.

You are going to experience frustration, resentment, anger, hopelessness and anxiety throughout the early years of his life.  You will question whether or not you are cut out to be a mom.  It’s important that you know that it’s okay to feel that way.  You will also experience joy, giddy laughter, pride and a love for him that will intensify each moment that passes. Your heart will become so full of admiration that it feels it will burst at any moment. You are going to be an incredible mother.

Anyway, congratulations on the pregnancy.  You are gonna do great, seriously.  There’s one more thing I need to tell you, in the spirit of preparation….

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You’re not done yet…

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #17

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

How I Snapped Out Of My “Lazy Housewife” Funk.

I’ve always believed in being transparent.  Honesty is key for growth.  So if I am being honest with you (and myself),  on a scale of 1-10, I am at about a 5 on the “awesome housewife” scale right now.

I have been sllllllacking.  I can’t pin point how, when, or why it started, but you can bet your ass it started, and I have the piles of laundry to prove it.

It seems I go through stages.  Some days, I cartwheel out of bed and karate chop my daily duties in the throat; flipping around my home like a gymnast with paper towels and a broom.

Other days, (like the past few days, weeks, month or so), I have been a Lazy Leslie.  I have tried to justify it to myself and it sounds something like this: “Girl, you got like a hundred kids and a big house, you aren’t super woman. Chill, relax, you’ve earned it.  Why don’t you lay down for a bit and rest your tired mom-bones”.

This self-dialogue is backed up by the fact that the bed is a mere 10 ft away from me all day everyday.  Sometimes I swear I hear it yelling at me the moment I pick up a dish to wash: “Ay! Get in here baby, I miss you.  Your hands are too delicate to be getting all pruney in that yucky sink water.  Put that down and come lay with me.” To which I usually reply, “Oh, bed. You know me so well. Here I come boo”.

In addition to my lack of enthusiasm about chores and cooking,  I have also been neglecting my body, shoveling ice cream sandwiches and Taco Bell down my gullet as if I was competing on Man Vs Food.

I have a history of depression and self esteem issues, so it’s important for me to be aware of my behavior.  For awhile now I’ve been in a funk, and I’ve been using the excuse “I’m overwhelmed” for too long.  The truth is, there is plenty of time for me to accomplish the things I need to during the day.  I just don’t want to.

I feel anxious when the house is cluttered and messy,  I am a happier person when everything is in it’s place and it smells like febreeze and wax melts up in here.  My husband had been busting his butt all day long to support our family, while I laid around for hours, occasionally moving some stuff around to make it appear as if I wasn’t indeed the sloth that I’ve been.

I wasn’t holding up my end of the deal, I wasn’t contributing as much as I could, I was neglecting my role in the family and it wasn’t fair.  I am a firm believer in taking some time to yourself to recharge, however my ass had been on the charger for long enough, and it was time to get it together for my family, and myself.  So what did I do?  I burned the house down so I didn’t have to clean anymore.   Just kidding.

I turned to my best friend, Google.  Together, Google and I did some digging and stumbled upon a website called “Organizing Made Fun”.  I threw my head back in maniacal laughter\at the blatant misspelling of the word “sucks”.

I clicked the site out of curiosity, eager to see why this crazy person thought it would be okay to put “organizing” and “fun” in the same sentence.  It came as no surprise that the website itself was beautifully organized.  It had different categories clearly displayed for everything from organizing your kids stuff to room by room cleaning/organizing tips and tricks.

If you’re like me and were addicted to opiates for ten years and never wiped a baseboard in your life and could use some motivation, inspiration and guidance – this is where it’s at! The woman who runs the blog is Becky, and she uses her site to help mom’s like me get their s*** together.

She delivers insightful articles about getting finances in order, meal planning, DIY projects, schedules, and organizing tools (which, she mentions using velvet hangers and, I don’t want to brag butttt….I already own those, so, beat ya to it Beck).

Anyway, she has a section of her website where she shows us what the inside of her home looks like. At first I was all like “Omg, #goals” but then I was like “HA! Wait a sec, this lady obviously doesn’t have kids. Okay, whew! I was starting to feel bad about my life for a second there”. As I continued scrolling through her photos, a picture of a child’s room appeared on the screen, and then another.  Damnit.  This lady is a magician.

It really got me thinking.  I can do better, I know I can.  When I sit on my butt instead of making my home a haven of peace, I am putting my own selfish needs before others.  If I had a dollar for every time I scrolled through Facebook and said to myself “Okay, 12 more minutes then we are done reading about Sarah’s time at the gym and Donald Trumps wire tap allegations” , I’d be rich.

There’s nothing on that phone that is more important than seeing my family comfortable, and happy. The only way I can improve at something is to learn to do it better.  I am not even close to perfect and need all the help I can get, so finding a site that makes it easy for me to learn to be the person I want to be was a breath of fresh air.

I spent about an hour reading advice on that site, and made a conscious decision to put the phone down and start making a change. I organized my pantry, cabinets and fridge.  It took a couple hours, but the relief I felt after decluttering and the joy on the kids faces once their snacks were all organized and accessible was beyond rewarding. 

I’m doing little things each day, but they are slowly adding up; and I honestly feel better than I have in a long time.  My husband deserves a wife who takes care of things for him, because he does so much for our family.  I want to be that wife.

Now don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying organizing is “fun”, okay, let’s not get crazy.  But being organized and tidy is much easier than scrambling each morning to find my sons infamous missing shoe and throwing random items from the fridge into a lunchbox as we are running out the door late for school.

I welcome chaos, all I’ve ever known is chaos, but from here on out; I’m gonna try to do things differently.  Will I be back to throwing random articles of clothing over my shoulder as I furiously search for a pair of matching socks in a few weeks? Possibly.  But if there is something more I can be doing to keep our home running like a well oiled machine- I’m sure as hell gonna try.

How do you keep your home organized? Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments! (I need all the help I can get!)

 

 

To Love An Addict…

To love an addict is one of the heartbreaking positions anyone could be in.  You spend years building a bond with this person, and in the blink of an eye, they are someone else.

Someone you no longer recognize.  It’s their face, their voice, their hands and their smile; but the person they used to be is long gone.  It’s as if that person has been taken over by an invisible force. A force that is dragging them down dark paths that you know your loved one would never dare to venture.

To love an addict is feeling both dread and relief when they show up at your door.  You know that for a moment they are safe, because they are here with you; but you are also aware that they are probably there because they need something from you.  You subconsciously  clutch your purse tightly and tread lightly, for fear of setting them off.

To love an addict is handing them a $20 bill for “cigarettes”, despite the fact that you know all to well what the money is really for.  You now have an internal struggle with yourself, because you know you shouldn’t be contributing to their habit, but in your eyes it’s better than them selling their body or stealing to get the money.

To love an addict is having your heart drop to your knees every time the phone rings, because you know at any moment you will receive the call. The call that they are gone.

To love an addict is a rollercoaster of emotions. Hopeful elation when they enter a rehab program and heartbreaking disappointment when they run from it and relapse.

To love an addict is to spend countless nights staring at the ceiling, wondering if there was something more you could have said, or done, to keep them from going down this path, blaming yourself for them being where they are.

To love an addict is to watch a person who used to laugh, sing, dance and be filled with joy, stumble through life like an emotionless zombie.

To love an addict is trying your hardest to love them from a distance, but having your heart melt the moment you hear their voice.

To love an addict is the constant desire to grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them, but knowing in your heart that you are absolutely powerless over their choices.

To love an addict is feeling a pang of sadness and shame whenever someone asks you how they are doing.

To love an addict is constantly walking on eggshells, because you know that if you say the wrong thing they may storm off, never to be seen again.

To love an addict is hugging them as tightly as you possibly can – when you can – because you never know if you will have the opportunity to feel them in your arms again.

To love an addict is to stare at them from across the room and pray for a glimpse of the old them to show through; so you know that somewhere inside this stranger, that person still exists.

Every single addict on the face of this earth, has someone, somewhere, who loves them. Every. Single. One.

I am an addict, and was actively addicted to opiates, (and alcohol, food, money – anything that made me feel different) for over 10 years.

I put my loved ones through hell.  I forced them to feel emotions they never deserved to feel. I lied to them, manipulated them and guilted them into enabling me endless times.

I can’t imagine how incredibly difficult it must be for a parent or family member of an addict to give them “tough love”, but I can tell you from experience, it could very well be the difference between life and death.

If you constantly provide an addict with a safety net to catch them, you are robbing them of the chance to hit their bottom and pay for the consequences of their actions.

It took me hitting rock bottom without a penny to my name, and nowhere to call home to finally arrive at the conclusion that no one was coming to save me.

This next part is probably going to sting a little, but I’ve always believed honesty is the best policy.  So I am going to say this from a place of love and experience, and hope it will be taken as such.

Think for a moment, about the reason you are giving them (us) money, rides, shelter, and bailing us out of jail .  If you really take a moment and ask yourself why, the answer may surprise you.  You are not actually doing it for usYou are doing it for yourself.

You are doing it so you don’t have to worry.  You are doing it because it makes you feel better to know we are safe.  You are doing it because it brings you peace to know we won’t have to sleep on the street, beg for food, or experience the pain that comes along with withdrawl.

I am not saying this to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them feel guilty.  I am saying it because something I feel many people don’t realize is – us addicts can be pretty damn convincing when we want to be.

We are professional manipulators.  If f shedding a few tears and dramatizing our current situation will cause you to open your wallet – we will put on the performance of a lifetime.

Someone who is uncertain of how to love an addict must recognize that by temporarily bringing yourself relief, making yourself feel better for the night, you are jeopardizing our chance of recovery.  Running around following us holding out a little pillow for us to land on in case we fall is not the answer, and most times proves to be ineffective.

Giving us money, helps us stay on the carousel of addiction for longer.  Bailing us out of jail-where we are safe– puts us back on the streets to use again.  Giving us rides, makes it easier for us to complete our mission of getting high.  Providing us a safe place to sleep – tells us that we can do what we want and there will be no consequences.

There’s a saying that “If an addict is happy with you, than you’re probably enabling.  If an addict is mad at you – you are probably trying to save their life”.  When I think back to my life during active addiction, this couldn’t be more accurate. If you weren’t helping me to score, there was no place for you in my life.

Making an addict as uncomfortable as possible in their addiction is a step in the right direction.  I’m sure it made my family members incredibly uncomfortable to watch me struggle until I had enough, but I believe their choice to love me from a distance is the reason that I am alive and present at this very moment.

To love an addict is recognizing your own behavior and making some changes that may be hard now, but will pay off later.

To love an addict is to let go if you have to, but keeping hope alive in your heart.

To love an addict is…Never giving up on them. There is no such thing as a lost cause, and it’s never to late for someone to make a change. Loving them from a distance if you must, but waiting with arms wide open when they are ready to make the decision to come home…

5 Support Resources For Loved Ones Of Addicts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking My Battles, Saving My Sanity.

When I was 21, I went to my mothers house because my boyfriend at the time and I were having a fight.  I can’t remember now what it was about, but I can say with complete certainty that he was wrong, I was right, and it was all his fault… And he was a big idiot head.

Anyway, after spending some time yapping her ear off about his wrongdoings, she patted my leg and smiled.  “Something I have learned after many years, and multiple marriages is; you must pick your battles.  Not everything is worth losing your s*** over.  Some things are, but most aren’t.  And you will spend a lot of time being unhappy if you make the conscious decision to go to war over every disagreement or conflict.”

She was an incredibly wise woman.

My mother has given me tons of unwarranted advice, but this bit in particular; always stuck with me.

I have a choice. I can navigate through the day with my hypothetical fists raised, ready to attack any conflict that arises. Upon witnessing someone’s status update that I don’t agree with I can hop into the comment section like Bruce Lee and start kicking people in the face with my own irrelevant opinion. I can choose to take a small incident that I will most likely have zero recollection of 6 years from now, and blow it out of proportion

Or…

I can choose not to.

It sounds weird, but I navigate through the world surrounded and protected by this “happy bubble”, (okay-hear me out),  I really do. When I go to the store, or an event, I go into it with a positive and optimistic attitude, (most of the time).

Every now and then someone comes along and tries to pop my damn bubble.  They poke at it, push it around or toss a couple rude words at it in hopes of getting through it.  “You should really put some socks on that baby, she looks cold”-stranger at grocery store. “We no longer carry Wild Cherry Pepsi”-Taco Bell Employee.  “I can’t find my other shoe”-unnamed child, for the 3rd time this week. 

The thing is, I am in control of what I allow to infiltrate my bubble.  I have the power, and if I give in and allow myself to be tempted by conflict – I give that power away to someone else. This is why it’s so important for me to chose who is worthy of receiving my power, and the list is small.

I can tell you this, it’s not the little old lady who cut me off in the parking lot this morning (and prompted this whole thought process). Sure,  I could have honked, and flicked her off out the window.  But what would I have gained from this other than scared children in the backseat and an elevated heart rate?  I chose to let things like this go.

I’m not saying that I skip around sprinkling fairy dust on everyone while singing “Let It Go” . I’m just saying that not everything is worthy of me defending my position. I do not think it’s a good idea to always avoid conflict,  because sometimes when I do, I end up living in it.  Stewing about it. (See my previous article about the lady from Target).

It’s incredibly easy to get swept away in the currents of drama.  Before you know it you are having an online argument with a stranger in Canada about women you don’t know marching for their rights.

So how does one decide which battles to fight, and which to let go?

There is a wealth of advice that can be found on the internet depending on issues an individual may be struggling with.

WikiHow has a hilariously illustrated article titled “How To Choose Your Battles in Marriage”Office Ninjas has one about conflict in the workplace and QuickandDirtytips.com has an article about choosing your battles with kids.

In my personal opinion however, there’s no perfect answer on any of these websites.  I am my own, unique person and things that make me tick may not bother others.  And since the internet wasn’t readily available when I was 21, I had to figure it out on my own anyway.

What it boils down to is how do I want to spend my day?  Do I want to be happy or angry? Peaceful or agitated? Composed or flustered? Do I want to scream at my son for pressing the “crushed ice” button on the fridge for the 10th time, or hug him and laugh, gazing upon the frosty mess I now have covering the floor?

Do I want to scream at my husband the moment he walks in the door because he forgot to pick up milk like I asked or welcome him home with a big hug and spend the night laughing instead of fighting?

It’s up to me.  I get to pick, and the freedom that comes along with that choice is life altering.  I will always stand up for my morals and values, but I refuse to participate in every fight I’m invited to. I’ve got more important things to deal with.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to clean up a crushed ice blizzard in the kitchen.

“You will never be completely free from life’s little annoyances, but you can become free from feeling annoyed.” – Richard Carlson, author of “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”.

 

 

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #16.

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish, and I want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #15

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish. I am really excited and want you to be excited with meeee!
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

In Case No One Has Told You Lately, You. Are. Amazing.

From one mother to another, I have some things I feel the need to share with you.  They are coming from a place of love, and complete understanding.  I hear the deep sighs and I see the tired look in your eyes, and I believe you are long overdue for some appreciation, so here it is.

I know the incredible amount of work you put into your home, and your family day in and day out, and you probably don’t hear the words “thank you” nearly as often as you should. Being a good mother takes an excessive amount of energy, and an endless supply of patience and love.  It takes a special person to selflessly put others needs before her own, so from one hardworking Momma to another, thank you.

You are beautiful.  I know there are many days when you hurriedly get the kids ready for school, and catch a glimpse of your reflection on your way out the door and think, “Wow I’m a mess, I’ve really let myself go”. I think it’s important that you realize what the definition of beauty really is.

What makes someone beautiful is not hair that falls perfectly into place or flawless make up.  True beauty is defined by ones soul.  The “mom bun”, sweatpants and natural face are a symbol of the immeasurable amount of love you have for the children you have created.  Anyone can slap make up on and straighten their hair, it takes a special person to be more concerned with ensuring their loved ones are ready for the day first. That’s what makes you so beautiful.

Your body is perfect. I am sure you’ve have heard the old saying “stretch marks mean you’ve earned your stripes, embrace them!”.  I can tell you as a mom who’s stomach has been stretched to it’s limits and beyond; that this saying doesn’t help me feel any sexier when my husband’s hand brushes against my stomach.

What I will tell you is this; if given the choice between having a toned flat stomach, or having your children, you would choose your babies – every time. Stretch marks are a small price to pay for a lifetime of joy.  Like a home with dashes on the wall to measure a child’s height as they grow, try to imagine these marks as a reminder for yourself, once the kids are grown up and on their own, that they were once there, that your body at one time, was their home.

You are doing great. You are! I think at times we start to feel more like servants, and less like wives and mothers. We get into a routine of cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, homework, errand running and so much more.  At the end of the day we are utterly exhausted and most times, our partners are none the wiser.  I know how hard you worked today, how much you gave, and how much you achieved.  You. Are. Amazing.

Keep in mind, that each chapter is temporary. I know there are moments when you feel that if you step on one more Lego, or hear the “Mickey Mouse” theme song one more time – that you will explode.  The sad thing is,  you will blink; and your babies will be grown ups, and they will be living on their own.  Your home will be quiet. The silence will be deafening.  The toys will be long gone, stored in the attic.  Embrace and appreciate this chaos while it’s here, because we are gonna miss the hell out of it when it’s gone.

Lastly, It’s a beautiful thing when you give your all to your family, but it’s imperative that you don’t end up losing your identity in the process. We get so caught up in the routines, and schedules and tasks that we rarely take time to do things for ourselves.  Relax.  Take a bath, go for a walk alone, meditate and give your brain a break from racing thoughts and worries. The dishes can wait.  It’s important to recharge your batteries from time to time, because you can’t pour from an empty cup.  You don’t have to feel guilty for sitting down for a bit and doing…Nothing.

Being a Mom isn’t like a regular job, where you receive accolades and promotions for doing a good job.  Sometimes even getting a thank you is like pulling teeth.  There will come a day, when your children grow up and recognize the love, strength and sacrifice that went into raising them.

We aren’t doing what we do each day for daily praise.  There is a much bigger picture that we must remain focused on when we feel like giving up. We are doing it for the day they walk across the stage to receive their diploma, the day they stand at the alter with the love of their life at the beginning of their new chapter.  We are doing it for the day they come to us as successful adults and give us a great big hug, and they say “Thank you Mom, for everything”.

You are wonderful, you are strong, you are appreciated (whether you hear it or not)  and you are making a difference. Thank you, for all that you do.

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #14

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #13

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

Quick Update

Hello friends!

Soooo, some of you may have noticed I haven’t been posting for a bit (or maybe my ego is hoping you noticed, you may have been oblivious to my MIA status because I’m nowhere near as cool as I think I am), either way, I am going to make this brief, but I wanted to fill you in on what’s been going on lately in the Jenkins household!

For starters- I haven’t had a phone for about a week now – and I’m totally fine with this.  In a perfect world, I would spend the rest of my days phone-free, however a replacement is on the way and will be here today. Booooo.

Also, my handsome hunk of a husband, started his own business about a month ago.  It’s a 24/7 on-call business, so he has been busting his butt to get this thing up and running and I couldn’t possibly  be ANY MORE proud of him than I am at this moment. He is doing amazing things for our family and I feel very blessed to be by his side through this next chapter.

So, in case some of you didn’t know,   I am fortunate enough to work from home for a carpentry/ remodeling company.  In addition to this, I recently picked up a side job writing for and working on The Purpose House website/Facebook. I am very grateful for this opportunity and hope to bring more awareness to the incredible transitional home that gave me a safe place during my transition into the real world after addiction.

Lastly, WE FLEW TO PA! We flew to surprise my sister for her birthday and it was incredible.  I am probably going to make a post with pics and stories of our adventure because it is worthy of it’s own space.

The kids are wonderful, Chloe will be walking any second now, Kaiden is loving school but hating mornings and Aubrey is my angel child sent from above.  She is such a wonderful help with her little brother and sister and I truly don’t know what I’d do without her!

So that’s it, we have been busy bees around here but hopefully in the upcoming week I will be able to catch up on my writing, because there is LOTS to talk about!

I love you guys and appreciate all of your love and support more than you will ever know!

XOXOXOX

When You Don’t Want To Forgive, Do It Anyway.

Forgive. It is a powerful word. To forgive basically means to accept, and move past what you feel was an injustice to your sensibilities. The word forgive is terrifying at times, because it means letting our guard down – letting someone off the hook for something we feel is unforgivable. We feel that if we refuse to let this person off the hook, they will continue suffering. The trouble is, this way of thinking is completely backwards.

By holding a grudge – we only hurt ourselves. Period.

When I was 8 months pregnant with Chloe, I was shopping at Target. Kaiden was sitting in the cart and I was looking at some Christmas gifts in one of the aisles. Some crazy lady decided I was in her way, and instead of asking me to move, she proceeded to ram her cart into the back of my ankles.

I wish I could tell you that this was a made up story – it’s not. I turned around in shock and the woman avoided eye contact and pushed her way past my cart, scraping up against the side of it as she did. Now at this point – I am 8 months pregnant and a woman of God, not to mention I have my 1 year old in my cart. She is lucky, because had she pulled this crap prior to my new way of life; I would have tackled her like an NFL player and choked her out with Christmas lights.

But I don’t live like that anymore. So what did I do? Nothing – abso-freakin-lutely nothing.

Wanting to avoid confrontation, I bit my tongue and continued my shopping. Within minutes I found myself stewing about this woman’s brazenness. I’d pick up a coffee cup with reindeer on it and say under my breath to no one in particular, “You believe this b****?” “No she didn’t” “She’s lucky I’m pregnant I’ll tell you that”.

I was literally walking around this store plotting this ladies death, meanwhile she was probably picking out denture adhesive not even giving me a second thought.

Would I have felt better if I had stood up for myself and cussed her out? Perhaps. But opening that door might have taken me to a place I didn’t want to be. I could see it now: “Next up on the 5 o’clock news, a pregnant woman attacks an old woman at Target sending her into premature labor – and it’s all caught on film.”

This obviously wasn’t an option for me, and replaying it over and over in my head growing angrier each time wasn’t helping either. So you know what I did?

I accepted an apology that I never received.

That’s right, I accepted an apology that she never gave me and I forgave her for what she did. I have a choice, and I chose to control my emotions, as oppose to letting them control me.

Sometimes, people are unaware of the emotional havoc the may have wreaked within me, there will be times when I don’t receive an apology I deserve.

An apology is not a requirement for forgiveness.

We can forgive whoever we want, whenever we want, even if the person is completely oblivious to the fact that they have been pardoned.

Now this is just a small example of a situation. There are many times where people do unspeakable, and seemingly unforgivable things. I am not trying to minimize the other persons actions nor am I suggesting we run around and forgive every jerkface who has crossed us.

What I am saying is; when I find myself obsessing about a person I feel has hurt, cheated, deceived or angered me, and when it gets to a point where it is robbing me of my peace – I then evaluate the importance of the resentment I am harboring, and decide whether or not holding onto that hate is helping, or hindering me on my journey.

I truly believe that when you forgive someone (whether you feel they deserve it or not), you are releasing at least 10 pounds of dead weight.

It is our job to keep our minds healthy, and I don’t know about you, but I function much better when I keep the negative energy out, and invite happiness and positivity in. In order to do this, I have to choose to let go of things that no longer serve a purpose, for there is limited space in my mind and I would much rather use that space for something beneficial.

Someone once told me that ” resentment is the equivalent of lighting yourself on fire, so the other person dies of smoke inhalation” and I had to stop for a second and process this.  I had never thought about it that way and it ended up changing everything.

I have to remind myself that while I’m stewing about that ex-boyfriend who cheated on me, he is probably having the time of his life somewhere, not giving me a second thought. So screw him! Just kidding. I forgave him, and I carried on.

My point is, the ability to let go of something that feels really important to me is hard, but so is lugging around a backpack full of hate everywhere I go. I know now that forgiveness will never change the past; but it will absolutely, positively change the future. I have a choice of how I react and respond today, and I choose love – every time.

Now, having said all this I would just like to get something of my chest.  Hey lady at Target, if you’re reading this –  I’m not pregnant anymore. Cash me ousside how bah dah?!

My Top 5 Favorite Meditations For When My Brain Needs A Vacation.

In 2009 I had my first stint in rehab.  I have a very vivid memory of a time when our counselor gathered us all into a room and had us sit in chairs that were placed in various places throughout the space.

He dimmed the lights, asked us to close our eyes, and began talking us through a “guided meditation”. His goal was to have us envision the scenes he was describing in an attempt to help us find tranquility.  I wanted to punch him in his stupid face.

I was withdrawing from opiates at the time, and my mother had passed away a month before; so envisioning myself walking down a golden path of cobblestone into a field of friggin lilies was the very last thing I wanted to do.

I inevitably ended up storming out of the room in frustration.  What the hell was the point of this? I wasn’t going to spend another minute humming and woosahing in a room full of addicts.

(I ended up relapsing the night I left rehab, perhaps I should have, in fact, taken that cobblestone path)

When I found recovery again in 2012, I would always hear people in the rooms speak of mediation and it’s benefits, however I still had a sour taste in my mouth from my first experience, so I was hesitant to try again.

One night after a particularly exhausting day with the kids, I decided to try and listen to something relaxing to calm my nerves.  I stumbled across a guided mediation on YouTube and figured ‘what the hell’.  I put my headphones in, closed my eyes – and 20 minutes later I was in a different world, separate from this one.  A world where it was just me, and nature – it was so…Peaceful.

I know this probably sounds crazy to you, and that’s okay, mediation isn’t for everyone. I personally suffer from anxiety and insomnia,  and have found these meditations to be invaluable.

As humans, our minds are constantly in overdrive.  Technology has made everything so fast, so instantaneous.  Doing a guided meditation allows you to slllloooooowwww dddooooowwwwn, and give your brain a break.

It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it can be life changing.  It’s like treating your mind to a much needed vacation.

I have made a list (with links) of my top 5 favorite guided mediations below.  After the kids go to sleep, first thing in the morning, mid-day; whenever you have some spare time to rest-and just be present-do yourself a favor; pop some headphones in and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy world around you.

2) Jason Stephenson – Floating Amongst The Stars.

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Listen to me people. I almost fell asleep just thinking about this video.  It is my #1 all time favorite because: It is literally like you are escaping this world and exploring another dimension. (Okay, I’m sounding crazier and crazier by the minute. But trust me, just try it)

 

2) Jason Stephenson – Sleep Guided Meditation – Fireplaceok

This is one of my go-to meditation when I just need to decompress. It features the sounds of a crackling fire, and when the rain starts to pour down onto the roof of the cabin – It’s magical.

3) TheHonestGuys – Blissful Deep Relaxation.

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This was the very first meditation I listened to when I tried again and I was asleep before the 18 minute video was over. The sound of the waves crashing combined with his soothing voice is enough to make even the busiest brains slow down.

4) Sleep Ezy Tonight-Floating Clouds.

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After an exhausting day, press play on this one.  It is perfect for pausing all of the thoughts you have buzzing through your brain. It completely relaxes you until you feel like you are floating out of your bed and into the clouds.

5) Michael Sealey – Detachment From Over-Thinking.

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I am an anxious worry wart and this meditation has helped reel me back in, center me, and allowed me to focus on the present – more times than I can count. (This one doesn’t have any music – it’s voice only. If that isn’t your thing you might wanna skip it)

There’s hundreds and thousands of free meditations that can be found on YouTube.  They have morning meditations to motivate you for a successful day as well.  I wanted to share this in hopes of helping someone out there who may be struggling with insomnia, anxiety, or someone who just needs a damn chill pill.  Let me know if you try any of these and what you think!

XOXO

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #12

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

Putting My Own Oxygen Mask On, First.

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Today, while on all fours searching for Chloe’s binky under the couch for the 4th time today; I had a revelation.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Seriously.  I’ve gotten into this routine, where my new normal is being the caretaker for 3 children, (4-if we count my husband).  I spend my days changing diapers, preparing meals, comforting , folding laundry, paying bills – and so much more….

If I happen to get lucky enough to get an hour to myself while the kids are napping; I spend that hour debating.  I have a very important decision to make.  Do I take a nap as well? Mop the floors since I can’t when they are awake and crawling all over them?

Do I catch up on that show I’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t had the time? OH maybe I could take an interrupted shower – if I do it quietly enough not to wake them up,  I may even be able to fit in shaving my legs.  Or maybe I should use this time to scroll through Facebook mindlessly and catch up on the latest drama.

By the time I figure out what to do – naptime is almost over.  Usually when I do end up taking a break, I feel guilty for sitting down because there is always SOMETHING productive I could be doing, because being a Mom is basically all about playing catch up.  There is so little time to myself that even if I am granted a few spare moments – I usually end up spending them doing things that help the family.

I have become so consumed with my role as “Mom“, that it has been a very long time since I thought about Tiffany.  Tiffany the friend, Tiffany the wife, Tiffany the sister; Tiffany the PERSON.

I didn’t always have children; they are semi new.  So what the heck did I do before they arrived?

Who am I without them? What do I like to do apart from being with my family? When was the last time I had a night out with a friend? (Last time I did something with a friend I spent the entire evening silently obsessing about my family at home – wondering how the hell they were surviving without me)

I realize the importance my role in this household – but I also recognize how crucial it is for me to have my own identity.

Momma’s – you know how consuming and exhausting it can be when it is your job to be the glue that holds everything together.  Even when we lay down at night, we don’t immediately drift off to a magical slumber like our peaceful snoring partners without a care in the world – our minds are racing.

“I forgot to put Sara’s library book in her backpack”, “I have to pay FPL tomorrow”, “What am I gonna cook for dinner tomorrow night? We have no meat – I need to go to Publix. Oh, speaking of Publix, I should get some flowers for Sara’s teacher because its her birthday Friday. Speaking of Friday, Billy has a project due that day – oh I can get the supplies while at Publix and – Damnit the baby is crying – time to feed.  I’m so tired, but no one can do my job but me so I gotta get up and get her.  Maybe I’ll put Sara’s library book in her backpack while I’m up…..”

A. Mother. Never. Clocks. Out.

So let’s make a plan. Right here, right now.  At least once a day momma’s, we do something for US. I’m serious. Let’s lock ourselves in the bathroom for 5 minutes and eat a snickers with headphones in.  Or ask our husbands to take the kids to the park so we can take a real, for real, uninterrupted solid ass nap. (P.s. if you are a husband and you are reading this, letting your wife nap is the sexiest thing you could ever do – aside from the dishes).

Let’s put the kids to bed and run ourselves a luxurious, solitary, peaceful bubble bath with candles and a book, (You guys remember books, right?)

I don’t care what it is, let’s practice focusing on ourselves – only ourselves– at least once a day.  It will take practice, and it won’t be easy; we have become programmed to give, give, give. But damnit, it’s time we start doing a little taking.  Who’s with me!!!!? *Thrusts sword victoriously toward the sky*

Seriously though, we can’t pour from an empty cup and it’s so important that we recharge our batteries from time to time.  It’s a beautiful thing when a mother gives everything she has to her loved ones, but let’s just make sure we aren’t losing ourselves in the process.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab my son’s Paw Patrol Bubble Bath soap and have some Tiffany time, thank you very much.

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #11

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #10

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

I Won A Pair Of Leggings. The Rest Is History.

Some of you may recall a post entitled “Fundraisers & Ghost Pants; which I had written in the early days of my blogging. (If you missed it-it’s here).

In that post; I detailed my experience with other moms at my daughter’s school – and their crazy leggings.  One could even say I poked a bit of fun at said legwear.

I have been invited to tons of different groups on Facebook for various products; and I usually roll my eyes and leave them immediately.  No offense intended; it’s just that I have had no interest in purchasing; nor getting involved with selling the stuff.  It feels strange and uncomfortable to me. A lot of this probably has to do with my immense fear of rejection.  Me trying to sell you something would go like this:

“Hi, would you like to buy this cool wrap that you put on your tummy? You will be 46 pounds skinnier by tomorrow morning.”

“No thank you, Tiffany.”

“Oh my God, okay, yes you’re right. I’m an idiot.  Forget I even said anything. I’m so sorry.  Here, let me just buy you 4 wraps and send them to you for free as an apology for disturbing you, actually I’m gonna send you some flowers too. I love you. I’m stupid.”

I never wanted to be in that awkward situation like “Hey girl, I know we haven’t talked since preschool – but have I got a deal for you!”

So it goes without saying; that when I witnessed many of my friends slowly begin to change their wardrobes to Lularoe leggings with wolf faces and popsicles sticks plastered all over them – I raised an eyebrow.  I didn’t understand the hype and I certainly didn’t want to be a part of it.

Until I won a free pair of leggings.

Here’s what happened…One day I met up with my trusted friend Lindsey T. for a playdate.  Whilst our children scurried about the playground together; I couldn’t help but notice the flashy colors and wild patterns on her leggings from the corner of my eye.

“Are those them Lularoe pants thingies everyone’s going crazy about?” I asked.

“They are! They are all I wear now.  They are so friggin comfortable; it’s literally like wearing pajamas out of the house everyday.” She said.

My ears perked up.  Pajamas you say?

“Can I feel them? Is that weird?” I asked, reaching over to feel them anyway; regardless of whether she liked it or not.

They were soft and all; but I still didn’t understand what the big deal was. We continued to watch the kids play – no more Lularoe talk from that point on. I didn’t want to offend her by telling her that I would rather save the money and continue to wear my actual pajamas out of the house.

A few days later I get a message from Lindsay. “I nominated you for a Lularoe contest. You won a pair of leggings. What’s your address” She asked.

Now we are talking.  I damn sure wasn’t gonna fork over any money for these things – however “free” is my middle name, girl, send em on over.

untitled-pnguhoikj2 days later I received a package in the mail.  Now I don’t know about you; but packages are always fun – no matter how old you are.  I snatched it from my mailbox and gleefully skipped up to my front door.  I scurried passed my husband seated on the couch while carefully avoiding eye contact – I didn’t feel like explaining and I was eager to put these damn leggings on and see what all the hype was about.

I locked myself in the bathroom and opened it up.

The first thing I noticed was a small box of “Nerds”. I debated for a moment about whether or not it was a good idea to eat candy before trying to squeeze my fata** into spandex-but gave in and inhaled the entire box in one swig. uh  There was also a hand written thank you card from the consultant – which I thought was super sweet.  She took the time to write me a lil letter. I love that. I crunched my Nerds around in my mouth as I began putting the leggings on.

They were my favorite colors.  Purple and black.  How the hell did this girl know that? What kind of sorcery was this? Was she a spy?  Perhaps she was a witch with special powers. I am still not sure but either way; I was grateful.

I pulled the leggings up around my waist and did a little dance to see how they felt.  I did various yoga poses, some cheerleading moves and finished with the robot.  There was no constriction anywhere; these leggings bent and moved with me.

They were nice; but I still didn’t get what the fuss was about.  I walked into the living room and plopped onto the couch; confused and a little disappointed. It was in that moment that the true magic of these leggings revealed itself to me.  If you are a woman – you will understand what I’m about to say…l

The fabric was so soft; that it didn’t cut into my rolls whatsoeverIn other words– I didn’t have to worry about my intestines being smushed when I sat my fat-a** down.  I have recently put on a few pounds and was always adjusting my shirts while seated because whatever pants I wore cut my stomach in half.  The only way to feel a moment of relief was to unbutton my jeans and release the Kraken. These leggings literally felt like I was naked from the waist down – I sh*t you not.  I felt so free and warm and snuggly and….happy…

I wore these leggings for 31 hours straight.  Did you hear me? I wore these from 3pm on Tuesday, to 10pm on Wednesday. You can judge me if you want – I don’t even care. I would probably still be in them if my daughter didn’t call me out –

“Ew are those the pants from yesterday Mom? Gross”

“Um you know what else is gross? Dipping your lollipops in ketchup- but you don’t hear me hatin’ on you. So zip it”.

She was right though. It was time to take them off. I changed into a pair of jeans and it wasn’t the same. They were heavy and had a zipper and pockets and it was TOO MUCH.

Get this– The very next day; my new best friend Lindsey- entered me in another legging contest and again…I won.  Shut the front door.

Listen; to say I was excited was an understatement. This time I knew what I was winning and I couldn’t wait. If I played my cards right- I could alternate these 2 pairs of leggings and wear them everyday for the rest of my life.

untitled.png6fyuvh.pngThey came 2 days later sent with another sweet letter; this time from Sarah Gaston. I furiously ripped them open and put them on immediately.  The pattern was gorgeous and I closed my eyes and let out a heavy exhale of gratitude as the familiar feeling of angels hugging my legs washed over me.

That night I witnessed my first “Shop the box” on Facebook live with Morgan Heinert.  I’d seen a few before but didn’t pay them much attention.  This time I was laser focused on how this s**t went down – because I wanted more.

It’s much more intense than I initially realized. How it works is: the consultant has a box of inventory; she opens it live in front of a group of ravenous legging/skirt/shirt/dress seeking women on Facebook.  If you see something you want; you must type “sold” in the comments before anyone else. That’s it – the clothing is yours.  It gets intense in there. It’s almost like being at an auction or gambling.  Your palms get sweaty and you are on the edge of your seat waiting for the perfect leggings to flash across the screen.

If you see a pair you love – you have to be quick or they are GONE. “Okay Tiffany; well I’m sure they have another pair available-“ NO! They DON’T! This is the thing! All the outfits are limited editions.  In other words – if you don’t snag something you like; you are s*** out of luck.  You have to pray the consultant receives this item again in the future- or find other consultants and check out their stash. They don’t all carry the same inventory – this is what makes it so exciting.

That night I noticed a pair of leggings I liked-they were the most “toned-down” of all the wild patterns I saw. I needed them. My fingers moved like lightening: Tiffany J sold #87″ – ‘enter‘…

 

What the hell am I doing? Why the hell did I get so serious about those leggings all the sudden – like – I was ready to fight someone about them. I don’t know what happened that night – I bought 2 more things. (Don’t tell my husband)…No seriously.

I never buy new outfits for myself – I’m always so busy being a “mom” that sometimes I forget that I am also a woman; worthy of a treat for myself every now and then.  (I’m probably gonna treat myself next month too – again – don’t tell my husband).

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Anyway I want to give a special shoutout to Morgan Heinert & Sarah Gaston for my free leggings. Actually, I’m not sure if I should be thanking you.  You have awakened something inside of me that I never knew was there.  A desire to burn every pair of jeans I own and an incessant need to hunt for cool leggings.

Some will say I’m crazy; that I’ve lost my mind and have been swept up into a fad that will one day fade. But it made me happy to receive gifts in the mail; and as someone who wipes butts and cleans up puke all day – I’d say there’s nothing wrong with doin a lil somethin for myself.

Anyway. That’s what happened. One minute I’m sitting on the couch minding my own business- next thing you know I’m hosting an online party for Lularoe.

This means all my buds can join me for a night of violent bidding and laughs.  I’m not gonna stalk ya’ll about it – (I might) I’ll try not to.  It will be fun and you should watch. (I’m not just saying this because I get cool prizes if you join me). Okay…..Part of me is; but most of me just wants you there for support!

The end.

Morgan’s Page

Sarah’s Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #9

 

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

To My Friend With The Broken Heart…

 

Hey beautiful,

I see you standing there; your arms crossed tightly across your chest as the tears stream down your red cheeks. I see you wipe them away and attempt to smile despite the immense amount of emotional pain you are in. You are gazing off into the distance; replaying in your mind memories of the time you and him spent together and shaking your head in disbelief.

Yesterday you two were sitting on the couch together; snuggled under the blankets watching a movie and today – today it’s suddenly and surprisingly…Over.

The future you had envisioned has disappeared right before your eyes; snatched away from your grasp and you are left here questioning everything you’ve ever believed to be true. You are asking me what you did to deserve this. You say you feel broken; and are wondering why you aren’t enough for him. What could you have done differently to make him want to stay. I need you to hear me when I say this; nothing – there is nothing you could have done differently.

Because he was not the one for you…

You are special. You are unique. Your eyes, your nose, your hair, your laugh and your smile – they are all so special. God has created you perfectly. He knew what he was doing when he made you; and he knew that one day; you would be with the one who loved you completely and unconditionally.

You are a treasure worth cherishing and unfortunately for him – he didn’t recognize the gift he had been given in you. His rejection- is God’s protection.

Him letting you go; is Gods way of freeing you up so that his grander plan for you can unfold. This man was a chapter in your life – but this is not how your story will end.

You will need to experience the pain and sadness, as you mourn the memories and comfort that came along with the familiarity of that relationship. It will be hard as hell; and there will be moments of weakness – but I need you to remember that there is a much bigger picture here; one more beautiful than you can begin to imagine. It has been hand painted by the Lord himself to perfection. This pain won’t last forever; and once it is over you will look back and realize that the end of this chapter- was the beginning of the best one yet.

You value is not measured by a mans inability to see it. Your self worth is not defined by whether or not you are someone’s “Woman Crush Wednesday”. It starts from within; and once you recognize your worth-it will make it much more difficult for you to give it away to someone who can’t afford it.

This life is so short my friend; and you should never have to question someone’s love for you on a regular basis. The right man will cherish you. He will spend each day ensuring that you know how special you are to him. You were placed on this earth not to be betrayed and taken advantage of; but to thrive- to love and to be loved. You are strong; you are beautiful; and you are worthy of that love. You deserve that kind of love.

I’m not saying you should move on right away. What I am saying, is that you should envision moving forward. It’s okay to feel numb, sad and weak – but don’t live there. Grieving is a process of healing and coming to terms with the loss of what could have been; while adjusting to how things are now. He was a huge part of your life; and it will take some time to get past this – there are no deadlines here and it’s important that you know that it’s okay to not be okay. As your friend I promise you though; that you are not alone; and I will be here holding your hand every step of the way on your journey to the next chapter.

I love you and I am so sorry that you are hurting. But I know in my heart of hearts that there will come a day when you and I are sitting on the back porch of your beautiful home; looking through the window as the man that God has made for you chases your beautiful children around the house while they laugh hysterically. That day will come and when it does – you will realize that this man letting you go – was the greatest gift he could have given you.

You will get through this; I promise.

Tiffany

P.S. Let me know if you want to go egg his house – I’m totally down….

 

The Incident.

Listen. I know it’s Wednesday. On Wednesdays I usually post about my time behind bars but I have decided to put it off until next week because we don’t have Wifi here so the laptop won’t work. 

But something happened tonight-and I’m about to use up all my damn data to tell you about it. Because I can’t sleep. I’m too scared (and angry); and I’m hoping that if I talk about it, it will help me.

Check it out. It’s my second night in my glorious new house (which I adore). I have had an exhausting day that consisted of opening boxes, folding clothes that had been lazily thrown into garbage bags, and moving furniture. 

I was beyond grateful when my husband turned to me tonight and said “You wanna go to bed early ?”. “Um, hell yes I do you friggin genius. That’s the greatest idea I’ve ever heard” I replied.

I slipped into my comfy jammies, washed my face and brushed my teeth..

(Okay those last two were lies, I just put pajamas on and got in bed; I was too tired to worry about personal hygiene and I knew for a fact that no making out was about to be goin on).

Anyway, there I was, snuggled up next to my boo; my mind running through important things like: Did I turn the stove off? I wonder what college Kaiden will attend. Too bad I didn’t go to college. I wonder if Chloe will go to college. She will probably get a scholarship for basketball cuz she’s so damn tall.. when all the sudden my husband shoots straight up in bed.

“What babe? Are you okay?” I asked checking to see if I pissed my pants because he scare the shi* out of me.

“Yeah, sorry. I thought….Nothing I’m good”. He said, lying back down.

I immediately assumed he had been attacked by an invisible ghost. Or he had a bad dream, or maybe he heard an ax murderer outside the window who was coming to kill us any moment now. 

“You sure you’re good honey?” I asked once more. “Yes. It was just a bad dream, I love you.” He said.

“I love you to booger bear pumpkin patch peanut butter pie pants”, I said, as I rolled back over.

I snuggled back into a comfortable position and felt myself begin to drift off. I was in that weird state between conciousness and sleep.

That’s when it happened…

I felt the hair by my face begin to move on its own. Then I felt something gently tickle my cheek. When my cheek twitched in response, its wings began fluttering right next to my ear. My hand shot up to my ear with lightning speed-just in time to feel the crispy motherf*** palmetto bug as it flew away somewhere near my head into the darkness.

It was in my f***ing hair. I touched it with my f***ing fingers. And now-it was gone. Somewhere. It was alive and well somewhere in my bed.

I let out an animalistic howl and shot out of bed as if it was on fire. I began hyperventilating; frozen in fear.

“What babe?!” My husband jumped up and asked. How dare he ask me what. He knew. He  already knew. He knew because it touched him first; causing him to jump up in bed.

Instead of telling the truth and saving me from this traumatizing event; he played it off as if he had a bad dream. I WILL MURDER HIM.

There was a roach in my effing hair.” I said, still frozen in place. “Durrrr, uhhh, ya I thought I felt it too” he said in a dumb stupid voice.

I walked to the living room and sat on the couch; attempting to hold back my tears…

*Side note: I had an incredibly traumatizing experience as a child involving hundreds of palmetto bugs. Shortly after that I began having night terrors daily; so much so that my father thought I perhaps needed counseling. If someone offered me 1 million dollars to touch a roach- I would have to pass on the money. I am not kidding, it is not a joke. I would chose death over a bathtub of roaches*

Anyway. I was choking back the tears; because my past experiences with bug encounters had proven that if I began crying, I would be unable to stop.

My husband came out to the living room almost immediately after me and began scrolling through his phone.. 

I blinked twice to clear my vision; because I knew his ass was not out on this couch instead of hunting down that bastard and murdering him and everyone he loved.

My eyes were not decieving me. Homeboy was scrollin without a care in the world.

“Um, so, I’m not trying to be an asshole here, but that roach is still in there. So.. why …Why are you out here and not in there looking for it?!” I asked, genuinely baffled.

Any man that has ever known and loved me, knows how deeply rooted this irrational fear of mine truly is. They know that it actually mentally f***s me up if they don’t present the corpse of the bug for me to view prior to flushing it. So why was he acting like he didn’t care?

“What do you want me to go look for it? You probably scared him away.” He said, not glancing up from his phone…

Me: *stares blankly in shock*

Him: scroll, scroll, scroll.

Me: *realizing the more seconds that pass the harder it will be to locate this unwanted guest*

Him: scrolly scroll scrolllll

“Drew….Are you f***ing kidding me. Yes I want you to find him or I will never be able to enter that room again.” I said.

“Jesus Christ” he said, slamming his phone down and heading to our room. 

After 30 seconds had passed; he came back to the living room and began scrolling….

Me: “So, no luck?”

Him: “Yeah, he’s gone” *not looking up from phone*

Me: “Say you swear to God”

Him: “Dude, I’m not playing this game right now.”

Me: ” Say it, say you swear to God”

Him: “I already told you-”

Me: *shouting* “SAY IT!!!!!!!”

Him: “You’re ridiculous…I’m going to bed”.

..And he did….He got up…And went to bed. In the roach room. He didn’t swear to God which means he didn’t kill it. It’s alive…And it’s in there.

I want to go dump water on my husband. I want to stick a mousetrap to his ballsack. I want to shoot him in the ankle with a BB gun. Because he doesn’t love me enough to kill the roach. 

He’s snuggled up all comfy in bed and I’m crinkled up on our leather couch with no pillow or blanket- in fear for my life. 

If he loved me he would still be looking for it. He would look all night until he found and slayed the beast for his lady.

I know I’m being emotional and irrational. But I feel like a man’s duties include: taking out the garbage, lifting heavy things, opening jars and killing bugs. Like, it’s in the job description of a man. If I wash and fold your mother effing underwear- you need to kill roaches for me. Plain and simple.

I can’t sleep in that room ever again and it’s only my second night here .. he thinks I’m joking but I’m literally going to sleep in Aubreys bed with her from now on. Maybe switch it up some nights and sleep in Chloe’s crib with her. I’ll sleep in the f***ing bathtub. But I’m not sleeping in that room until Roger the roach is history.

If you guys are watching the news tomorrow and there’s a report of a woman smothering her husband with a pillow….You never saw this, Kay?

Too tired to think of title.

Hello my friends.  So, to be completely honest with you, the last thing I wanted to do today was write.  The reason being – I am freakin’ exhausted.  However my husband is watching basketball; and I’ve already seen this episode of Shark Tank twice, so I figured I’d hop on here and tell you about what’s been going on lately in the Jenkins household.

WE ARE MOVING!!!!!!

ugilg.png

Yup, we’re moving this week.  My stepfather and stepmother have chosen to relocate to Georgia.  Before making the decision to purchase the house in Georgia; they first had to find someone to rent their incredible home here in the heart of Sarasota…

They thought of our family and the moment he extended the offer to me; I had to pull over my car before I crashed it into a gas station from excitement.

Currently; we are a family of 5, living in a 2 bedroom house.  The 2 smallest children sleep in the master bedroom with Drew and I; while Aubrey sleeps in her own room; which doubles as a toy storage facility.  We have all shared one bathroom, and it has been fine.  We started out with nothing; worked our way into a tiny apartment; stepped it up and got our own home with a back yard and now- it’s time once again to expand and move forward onto bigger and better things.

Each place has been a stepping stone and we have remained grateful throughout each stop on our journey…

BUT THIS HOUSE…..this house……is SUCH a blessing.

It’s a 3 bedroom; 2 bath home.

It has a massive (I mean, massive) yard.  There is a playground, a large deck, a separate patio, and 2 sheds.  In addition to the 3 bedrooms – there is a gigantic playroom in the back and a separate parlor (where I intended to light incense, burn candles and do my writing!)

I will take more photos once we are settled and share them with you all.

The home is so bright and open – when I walk in my soul immediately feels at peace.  Todd and Jennifer have truly blessed us with the opportunity to rent this home and my family is so excited to be able to stretch our wings and run freely with all this extra space.

Another reason I am super excited to live her is because my stepdad has left behind some furniture and knick knacks that belonged to my mother.  My family will be sitting on the same couches that I sat on as a child.  I somehow feel closer to her when I enter those doors.

So stay tuned for the tour once we get settled!

Having said all this. MOVING EFFING SUCKS! It is so tedious, and time consuming and stressful and my brain hurts and my arms are sore from lifting dressers and it hurts to type I need sleep I’m going to bed I love you goodnight.

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #8

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

3 Things I Do As A Wife; To Improve The Quality Of My Marriage.

 

*Disclaimer: These are all things I do personally. I am not a psychologist, marriage counselor or guru of any kind. So take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Every couple is different; and different approaches work for different people. These things have worked wonders for me; so I wanted to pass them on*

Happy Monday friends! I would first like to give a shout out to Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. for being so brave; we sure could benefit from his peaceful leadership these days. The difference he made in this world is the only reason I am not annoyed that I have 3 children currently running around my house instead of at school.

img_20160722_185248Anyway, ladies -this post is for you today; annnnnd you’re probably not gonna like it. (I’m sorry in advance.) The reason I feel it might rub you the wrong way is because, some of the things I am about to say; probably go against some of your beliefs – rather; some of your “habits”.

I want to talk about being a good wife. We spend a lot of time focused on what our lazy ass husbands/boyfriends/ baby daddy’s could do to improve; but do we ever take a good, hard, honest look inward to see if there is anything we could be doing to improve the quality of our relationship? I can only speak for myself here-but if you were to ask me “what I would like my husband to work on” I would promptly pull a long scroll out of my back pocket, unroll it, and spend the next 10 minutes listing off various quirks and habits I would erase permanently if given the chance.

Yet; if someone asked me what “Ipersonally’ need to work on”, my answer would probably be; “a tan, that’s about it.”

img_20160722_211147I am not a perfect wife; not even close. I have many character defects that I attempt to rid myself of daily. My husband has tried to give me “constructive criticism” in the past; and my eyes immediately turned black, my claws came out, and vulgarities shot out of my mouth like bullets from a gun. He decided it best that he keeps his opinions about me to himself from then on.

While it does help keep the peace; it robs me of an opportunity to grow toward being a better wife for him. Sometimes I walk around with the idea that “I work so hard around the house and take such care of our children; he should be thankful for me and everything I do.” And while this may be true; I must remember that it wasn’t my ability to wash dishes and change multiple diapers simultaneously that attracted him to me initially.

It was my silly personality, my spontaneity, my smile and my laugh (okay probably not this 13-13one, my laugh sounds like a cow being tickled).  So now; if more often than not, my fun loving personality has been replaced with an anxious, frenzied disposition and my smiling face looks like more like a character in a scene from “Night Of The Living Dead”; I have somewhat cheated him out of the person he fell in love with.

Below are 3 things I do to ensure, that I am being the best partner I can.

 

1) Don’t let yourself ‘go’– Strangely enough; I actually received this advice from my father. His exact words were, “Whatever you do; don’t let yourself go. Make sure you make an effort from time to time to look good for Drew-don’t let having a ring on your finger be an excuse to stop working on yourself physically.”

Okay, so at first I was offended. I was all like “Ummmm, thanks dad; I wasn’t planning on turning into Shrek after we got married, cool advice.” Over time, however, I realized how imperative this advice actually was. Kids, exhaustion, and time constraints all make it pretty difficult to take care of myself. I am too busy giving my all to 4 other people; ensuring their needs are always met. This leaves me with little time to workout and doll myself up regularly. Besides; I rarely leave the house;img_20161219_184754 so what the hell is the point of wearing makeup and brushing my hair?

 

 

20 pounds later I found myself waddling through my hallways with my hair looking like a birds nest while donning sweatpants and my husbands t-shirt.  I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, “Okay I know love conquers all, but there is no way this look I’m rocking right now is a turn on for my husband.” Most days; I attempt to throw some mascara on, slap on some lipgloss and wear real pants… (most days).

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A little bit of effort goes a long way

Not only is my husband all like “Dayum girrrrl!”, but more importantly; I feel better about myself. At least until one of the kids poops on me). In my personal experience; when I push myself to exercise a

little and make better food choices; I am a much happier wife; exuding positive energy instead of nervous, hostile energy.

2) I have mastered the art of biting my tongue – Okay, this one is tough. I regularly feel inclined to follow my husband around the house, lean over his shoulder and critique his every move when I feel he isn’t doing something the way I believe he should. Something my mother once told me that I keep in the back of my mind at all times is to “pick my battles”.  Imagine if your boss followed you around at your job and pointed out everything you were doing wrong; and insisted on showing you the correct way to do it. Now visualize him giving you a progress report of your performance multiple times a day. It would drive you nuts. cam00344

A home should be a man’s sanctuary.  The place he goes to unwind after a long day of work. The last thing he needs is to feel like he is still on the clock; after he comes home.(I know, moms never clock out, that’s what makes us superheroes). I try to take it easy on him. I want him to enjoy being around me, so I generally let the miniscule things that bug me go. He does so many wonderful things; that I find it petty to make a fuss about trivial issues.  Now I’m not saying to internalize your feelings of anger and resentment. What I am saying is; if it’s imperative to the foundation of your relationship – by all means- discuss it, calmly. But if he leaves a dish in the living room for the thousandth time when he knows I hate it; I let it go. That dish is not worth inviting unnecessary turmoil into my life. It’s not as if he is trying to drive me nuts purposefully; (men are just…erm…forgetful.)

I know you are probably saying to yourself “but, but, but; he is so lazy, he could do more, he’s not as involved as he should be; etc.” I get it, I really do. But he already has a mother; he20160125_182044 doesn’t need two. I am his partner, friend and lover. We are a team.

It may feel like by expressing my wants and needs on the spot constantly, I am helping him become my ideal man. In actuality; all I am doing is making him feel like he isn’t good enough, and nothing he does is right. Instead I try building him up; encouraging him, respecting him, complimenting him, and being vocal about my appreciation of him. It is my job to love him; not “fix” him.

3) Have fun – life is not that serious – I am going to wrap it up with this. There was a time; when I became so caught up in schedules, housework, school and raising children; that I actually forgot that life only happens one time. You get one go round – that’s it. You don’t get to hit the reset button and start over whenever you want. When our time on earth is over, it is over. (unless you believe in reincarnation; but we can get into that another time.)

img_20161008_215151When I realized that there is so much more to life than working, paying bills, changing diapers and counting down the days until the kids reach their next milestone; so that they can be more independent and “things will get easier”- everything changed.

It is up to me to find joy and happiness in each moment. It is my choice whether I merely “exist”; just going through the motions of my day to day; or if I grab life by the horns and make it my b****.

I like to mix things up around my house.  I burst out in song while cooking my husband dinner,11178277_10153181972770428_6150296687537354471_n I have an impromptu dance party when a commercial comes on with music. I interrupt my husbands “Facebook scrolling” with an idiotic series of knock-knock jokes and I jump out of hiding spots to scare him when he least expects it.  In return; he squeezes my water bottles when I’m mid-sip; soaking me in water. He locks me out of the car when I return from getting something from the gas station and drives away while the kids laugh hysterically.

I can’t peacefully take a shower, because I have a deep-rooted fear that my husband is going to burst in at any moment and dump ice on my head; because he has done it 7 times and counting. I have gotten him 4 times; unless you count the time I missed and flooded the bathroom; in that case I got 5.

img_20160603_170100My point is, take a second and shake off the mundane routine. Take a moment to remember what it was like in the beginning; before all of the responsibility of marriage and raising kids became a reality. Strive to recreate that time with your significant other. My husband and I belly laugh with each other at least once a day. We create those silly moments for ourselves to enjoy. It is up to us to keep the passion alive –because no one else is going to do it for us.  It takes two of us to make our marriage work; and I try to check myself each day to ensure I am doing everything within my power; to be a kick-ass wife..

ALSO!

If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman; you absolutely should.  His New York Times best-selling book has transformed millions of relationships. Or- you can take The 5 Love Languages quiz here and  find out yours. (I swear he didn’t pay me to say that; I just really believe in the benefit of his book… However if you see this; Mr. Chapman and wanna toss me a couple bills I won’t be mad.)img_20160722_185248

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #7

Brandi was sitting on the edge of her bunk and I noticed her foot was tapping the ground rapidly as she waited for me to begin my story.

“When I was arrested, I was arrested at my home.  I shared that home with my boyfriend, and he is a Deputy for this county.” I said.  I watched as her jaw hung open as she inched closer to the  edge of her bed.  “I had been doing pills, everyday behind his back…..for 2 & 1/2 years.  When it got really ba-” My story was interrupted by a sudden flurry of movement in the corner of my eye. I looked to my left and noticed all of the girls were running full speed back to their cells.

Our bunkies ran into the cell where Brandi and I had been seated and swiftly began making their beds, a look of horror on their faces. “What the hell is going on?” I asked, standing up and glancing down at my bed, wondering if I should fix mine up too for some reason.  Brandi looked out into the day room and I watched as the realization of what was happening washed over her face.

“Um, hello? Can someone please tell me what is happening? Why is everyone freaking out.” I asked straightening the edges of my sheets. Brandi looked up at me from the floor where she was suddenly straightening out the contents of her bin and said only one word…

“Riggins.”

“Huh? Riggins? What the hell is a Riggins?”

“No one told you?!” She said

“No, can you? Please? Is my life in danger? Like, what the f*** is going on?” I asked, simultaneously confused and terrified.

Before she could answer I heard the door of the dayroom slam shut, and our entire pod fell silent. I could hear a set of keys jingling and a pair of sneakers tapping the floor as the person wearing them jogged up the stairs. I sat on the edge of my bed observing my cell mates.  They were frozen in place, a look of terror on their faces – it was as if the president of the United States had just walked in and was hand selecting people to go to war.

“You nasty hoes wash your P***y’s today?!” The guard yelled from the top tier. “I know some ah ya’ll stank bitches is on day 2 of no shower witcho nasty asses.”

Um…..What?

“Ay! Da f*** I tell you about making sure deez beds was made when I came in? Ohhhh ya’ll thought Deputy Flower was on tonight, huh? That’s why you just said f*** it and let ya shit stay messy. Well surprise motha f***ers!”

The guard was making her rounds across the top tier when she suddenly came into view across from our cell.  I expected a man beast of a woman to come bounding around the corner.  This lady was 5 ft 2 in. but something told me her size was irrelevant.

I watched her move quickly past the cells, analyzing the state of each one.  She began jogging down the stairs and heading straight for our cell, a look of determination in her eyes. For some reason, I suddenly felt like I was about to s**t my pants.

She glanced into our cell and continued walking, but then I heard her sneakers ‘squeak’ as she stopped short and backed up.  She looked in our cell again and began laughing as she unhooked her keys from her belt and opened our door.

She was laughing and shaking her head as she entered and then she stopped …and stared into my eyes with a look I can only describe as the look your mother gives you when she’s about to beat your a**.

“Well, well, well….what we got here? You must be new.” She said, talking to me. “Man that’s messed up, ya’ll didn’t give her the heads up? Ya’ll didn’t educate her bout Riggins didja?” She said, looking at my cell mates. “Well I’ll just have to introduce myself then. What’s up crack head, I’m Riggins, and I’m gonna make you wish you never stepped foot in my jail.”

She walked toward me and bumped me as she ripped the entire mat off of my bunk and threw it into the middle of the dayroom.  I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, and my face began burning with embarrassment.  “Ima teach you how to make your bed right. Come on.” She bounded out to the dayroom and stood with her arms crossed, waiting for me to exit my cell.

I walked over to her and stood above my mat, I wasn’t sure what exactly she wanted me to do. “So should I make my-” Before I could finish she leapt over to where I was standing and got about an inch from my face, and began screaming at the top of her lungs while looking me dead in the eyes.

“Did I mother***ing ask you to talk mother***er? No, I don’t think so. Don’t say another mother***ing word unless you want me to throw your nasty ass in lock. Now close your mouth, and make your G**damn bed, hoe.” She said, stepping back to give me room.

I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and tried with everything in me to not let them fall, to no avail.  I began sobbing as I got down on my hands and knees in front of every woman in my pod and began making my bed. It was incredibly demeaning to have to get down on the floor like a child and make my bed in front of my peers. I secretly hoped she would realize that I was new here, and give me a break….. She did the opposite.

“Oh my God. Look at this.  Hey ya’ll, hey! Look down here right quick.  This girl over here cryin’ bout makin her damn bed.” I heard a few snickers from the women and I cringed, thinking about how I was trapped with these people for God knows how long, and now they know what a p***y I am. “This bitch here probably ain’t used to havin’ to do chores.  She been too busy getting high and s***in dick on the streets to worry bout making her damn bed at home.” She leaned down and placed her hands on her knees, getting eye level with me. “Your in my house now, hoe.” She said, sneering at me.

“I would like this whiney little junkie to be an example to all ya’ll.  You bitches wanna act hard out on them streets, but when your in here, you ain’t shit. Right now, I want all ya’ll to take your sheets off your bed and make them damn beds perfectly – you know how I like it- when your done, take the sheets off again and remake them.  You can stop when Inmate Johnson here makes her bed right.  I’ll be back to check on ya’ll in a few, don’t be comin out them cells till your done” she said walking away. I heard the women begin groaning and pulling their sheets off, cursing and talking about how they were going to beat my ass when the doors unlocked.  Deputy Riggins had almost made it out and stopped.  She turned back around and began walking toward me as silence once again fell upon the pod.  I felt myself tense up as she leaned close to me, putting her mouth right next to my ear.

“I know what you did Johnson, Chuck is a good friend of mine.  You shouldn’t have done him like that when he loved you.  Best believe I’m going to make sure that while you are here, you are gonna pay for what you did.” She said, roughly patting me on the back and heading toward the door. “One more thing”- she yelled over her shoulder as she walked out of the pod-“Make sure the minute those cells unlock for you to come out, ya’ll let this girl know how much you appreciate her, for making ya’ll make your beds over and over” She laughed as the door slammed shut behind her……..

 

 

Cheap Indoor Activities For Kids, For Moms Who Suck At Pinterest.

zaIt’s Saturday and you’ve got big plans for the day, you are taking your rambunctious, restless, energetic kids to the park. As you start getting their shoes on to head out the door;  you hear the first few drops of rain falling from the sky and landing on your front stoop.  You glance out the window in terror as you curse the skies, because you immediately realize this means one thing, and one thing only….

You are trapped.

Trapped in your home with wild little creatures who are hopped up on Capri Suns and gummy bears – and there is nowhere to escape to.

FEAR NOT my friends! I have a solution. I have a “magic closet” loaded up with tons of supplies that I picked up from the Dollar Tree, and I pull them out when the kids need something to keep them occupied, and I need a mini break.

I have made a list of some of the cool stuff we have done, that is super easy and incredibly cheap.  Check it out below!

 

Sensory Bottles

This one is pretty cool because you can use stuff that you have lying around your house.  The idea is, you put different items inside the bottle, and the child gets an opportunity to see how those items interact with different ingredients.  I have also used these as “calming bottles” -when a child has lots of tense energy built up, you put some calming music on and add sparkles and color.  Here’s what you need to make these….You can get all of the ingredients at the Dollar Tree – minus the bottle.

Supplies Needed:

Clear plastic bottle-( I like the Voss bottles)

Water

Vegetable oil

Food coloring

Anything else you want! Example: Beads, sparkles, pipe cleaners, straws, tinsel, craft puffs, water beads, etc.

To Make Sensory Bottle:

Peel the label off of bottle so it’s completely transparent.Now you have a couple options…

A) Fill half of bottle with water (Add a couple drops of food coloring if you’re feeling crazy, and fill remainder with vegetable oil (Add some food coloring to oil before putting in bottle) and BAM. Lava lamp.

B) Fill bottle almost all the way to the top with water ,add food coloring and tilt back and forth until it blends. Then you can add sparkles, water beads, etc and then close the lid.  You can seal it shut with glue if you need.

C) Combine the 2 ideas….or do your own thang, you really can’t mess it up.

 

Pipe Cleaner Flower Garden

 

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So check it out, this lil project only cost me a total of $3, (we already had pipe cleaners and tissue paper). I stayed and made sure she got the hang of it – then I dipped out and watched Dr. Phil.  It took her about 45 minutes to finish and she had a blast!

Supplies Needed:

Dry floral foam rings  (Dollar Tree – $1)

Pipe Cleaners -(You can get 45 for $1! Whaaaaaaat?)

Pony Beads- Like This. ($1)

Straws (Cut at different lengths).

Tissue Paper.

Planters- Like This

To Make Pipe Cleaner Flower Garden:

Take the round Styrofoam and set it flat on table.

Poke a hole (with a pen, skewer, etc) then place pipe cleaner into the hole. (I found it difficult to make the holes with the pipe cleaners alone so I had to MacGyver it with something sharp.)

Show your kiddo how to put different patterns of beads and straws onto the pipe cleaner to make the stem, be sure to leave a little room at the top of the pipe cleaner because you will need that space.

Grab some tissue paper and cut 3 small circles, then push the pipe cleaner through the center of all 3 circles and secure with another pony bead. Also you could basically crumble the tissue paper up and wrap the damn pipe cleaner around it somehow so it resembles a flower – again, they are kids and will think it’s cool either way.

Continue doing this all the way around the Styrofoam circle until your kid is tired of doing it, or satisfied with their work – then pop that bad boy in the planter and you’re done. Boom.

Homemade Disney “Frozen” Silly Putty

Ya’ll this was my favorite project that we’ve done – mainly because I totally felt like “Bill Nye The Science Guy” when I was showing the girls how to do this.

image

Supplies Needed:

1 bottle of clear school glue (147 ml)

The same amount of water (147 ml)

1/2 Teaspoon of Borax. (Wtf is Borax? Here ya go)

1/2 Cup HOT water

A few sprinkles of silver and blue glitter ( or a s**t ton of glitter – its up to you)

A few drops of blue food coloring

To Make Disney’s “Frozen” Silly Putty”:

Step 1 – Pour bottle of glue into bowl.

Step 2 – Fill the empty glue bottle up with water and add to bowl.

Step 3 – Stir it until it’s combined.

Step 4 – Add a few drops of blue food coloring and stir again.

Step 5 – Add sprinkles and keep on ah stirrin’.

Step 6 – Get a separate cup, and put 1/2 cup of hot water into the cup.

Step 7 – Add 1/2 teaspoon of Borax to the hot water, and stir until it is dissolved.

Step 8 –(So many damn steps) Pour this solution into the bowl and stir – this is when the cool stuff starts happening! The kids will watch in amazement as it turns into silly putty right before their little eyeballs.

We took it a step further and grabbed some kitchen utensils and started putting jewels into it (See picture) We brought it out to the sun and it looked awesome.  It’s a lot of work, but your kids will think you are a magician….Totally worth it.

 

Build a Fort – Because Forts Are Awesome

 

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Supplies Needed:

I mean, this is pretty self explanatory, right guys? Kids love forts, I literally have no idea why, but they do.  Throw some blankets and sheets over chairs, if you wanna get wild – tack them to the wall with thumbtacks, throw in some pillows and books and Booyah! You just bought yourself at least 20 minutes of alone time.

 

Popcorn and a Movie FTW

 

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Supplies Needed:

Movie, popcorn, children.

This is my go-to rainy day activity when I’m feeling lazy, but its something about a freshly popped bowl of popcorn that makes watching a movie 10x more exciting for them. When they start getting restless I bust out my secret stash of Twizzlers and that buys me a few extra minutes.

Bake Cookies!

Supplies Needed:

Let’s just keep it simple here and buy premade cookie dough, kay? Because ain’t nobody got time to be measuring sugar and flower. (Also, I would have to Google how to make cookies from scratch because I have no clue.)

Sprinkles.

To make cookies:

Open package, pull apart pre – made, pre-sliced cookie dough.

Have your child space them out on pan.

Decorate with fun sprinkles.

Put them in the oven for however long the package tells you to.

High five them and pretend you are excited that they are baking, when really you are just excited that you get to eat cookies.

Eat Cookies.

Indoor Bowling

 

 

This was so much fun, and it helped Aubrey practice math! I don’t want to brag buttttt….I was pretty proud of myself for thinking this up.

Supplies Needed:

10 Water bottles

Water

Food Coloring

Ball

To Make This:

Fill bottles with water, then drop different color food coloring into bottles. Each color had a point value – Green – 1 pt Red=2pts

Have the kiddos take turns rollin the ball across the living room and have them total up the points of each roll, based on the colors they knock down.

Neon Bath

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Supplies Needed:

Bath

Bath Bubbles

Glow Sticks (Dollar Tree)

Children

Water

How To Have Neon Bath Party:

Run Bath

Put Bubbles in it

Put children in it

Turn lights off

Toss in glowsticks -Party Time!

(Techno/Rave music optional)

Diversity Is A Beautiful Thing.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Hey friends! As some of you may know, The Daily Mail contacted me.  They had seen one of my blog posts on Bluntmoms.com and wanted to do a story about my recovery from addiction, and motherhood.  I debated for awhile about whether or not to do it, as I had mixed emotions.

Part of me was worried what people might say about me, I haven’t always managed to accept criticism gracefully (I’m working on it.) However, the other part of me felt like it would be a great opportunity to show those who may still be struggling, that a life after addiction is possible.

I chose to do the interview, and it went live the next day.

I swore I wasn’t going to read the comments people wrote about me on the website featuring the article, and I actually held out for awhile.  However while re-reading the article, there was a button on the side that read “14 comments”. and I couldn’t resist. It was almost as if my hand was moving without my brain’s permission. I began reading what strangers had written…….

This was a BIG mistake.

Lots of people apparently ate a big bowl of righteousness that morning and decided to be a bunch of Hateful Harriets.  I immediately felt obligated to defend myself, as the majority of rude comments were based off of things left out of the article, somewhat important things that explain more of the “after” addiction. People chose to focus on my skanky drunken before pictures and the things I had done while using, completely missing the point of the story.

I popped in and left a tasteful

comment, clearing a few things up that these strangers seemed to be confused about, and I haven’t been back to the comment section since, and the reason is simple…

What others think about me, is none of my business.

I put myself out there to be judged, and the results were as expected. If someone didn’t get something positive out of the article, than the article probably wasn’t meant for them.

It was meant for the person alone in their room, with a needle in their arm, and sadness in their heart.  The person who feels as if there is no hope for them, that they are a lost cause incapable of escaping the grip of addiction.  The person who needed to see just one story of hope, one person willing to put themselves out there with their truth about hitting rock bottom, and climbing their way out into the light.

That was who my story was for, not the judgmental woman who has never lost a loved one to drugs, or experienced the desperation that comes along with addiction, therefore, her comments are irrelevant to me.

I searched for the most wholesome story on that website, and found one about a boy and a puppy.  I went to the “comments section” and my suspicions were confirmed; even a story about a boy and his dog, had hundreds of negative comments written by toxic people with nothing better to do than sit behind their keyboards and release hateful energy into the universe.

One of the “12 Traditions” in the program of NA refers to how we must remain anonymous, and for good reason.  I completely understand the need for anonymity for some people; in my case, I find it difficult to remain anonymous.  It was such a large part of my past, and has shaped me into the woman I am today, so it’s important for me to be able to share my journey with others, so that they know they are not alone.

The amount of messages I have received from people reaching out for help for themselves and their loved ones is overwhelming and reiterates the importance of being honest about my journey. I think that one of the main problems today, is the amount of active users, far outweighs the stories of success being shared, which makes it difficult for those who are struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I want my story to be that light.

I am no better than anyone, in fact there are people in the recovery community who are much more involved with service work, recovery and helping others than I will ever be.  These people are unable to talk about the wonderful things they have overcome and accomplished due to work obligations and the stigma that comes along with addiction, but there a hundreds of people among us who are true miracles and making a real difference in this world, yet remain anonymous.

I will close with this: I am never, ever, ever going to be able to please everyone, and no matter what I do, there will always be those who don’t agree with my perspective, but this is what makes our worlds such a wonderful place. Different opinions bring fresh ideas, and encourage others to branch out from their normal way of thinking. Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something completely different, so I have chosen to embrace the diversity that exists and continue on in my journey without looking back for approval.

Any adversity I will be forced to face by choosing to share my story, will be well worth it to me if just one person sees it and feels inspired to make a change.

 

 

 

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #7

 

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In – My Time In Jail. Chapter #6

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

 

10 Life Changing Pieces of Advice I Learned From Recovering Addicts-That Apply To Anyone.

As most of you know, I have been in recovery from addiction for 4 years.  What you may not know, is that I didn’t stay clean all that time, by myself.  There is a community of people just like me, that knew the secret of staying clean.  I leaned on these people as I began learning to navigate the unknown territory of sobriety.  The world is different when you are only accustomed to seeing it through a foggy haze, and if you don’t know your way around, you will most likely end up back on the path that is comfortable to you – the path of getting high.

These people were my lifelines, and they had something I wanted, they knew how to live clean. So I observed them intently, I listened to things they had to say and I watched how happy they were without the use of drugs. While listening, I have overhead countless clichés, advice and tips.  Some of it went in one ear, and right out the other when I realized it didn’t apply to me, however some advice – struck me like a lightening bolt, and it changed my life.

I am going to share some incredible advice from some of the wisest people I have met. People who have been to hell, and risen from the ashes into a beautiful new creation. This knowledge has helped me to overcome countless obstacles,  setbacks, and disappointments. These don’t only apply to addicts or alcoholics, I believe the following list can help anyone who is looking to evolve and better themselves.

 

 

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Be gentle with yourself – We are often times our own harshest critics, we tend to beat ourselves up over something, before anyone else has a chance to.  If I make a mistake, I don’t let my inner thoughts allow to me to believe you are a failure.  Mistakes and accidents can and will happen.  Embrace them, learn from them…and move on.

 

 

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Look down at your feet– Someone in recovery told me this at one point and it has stuck with me ever since.  He said “Look down at your feet, that is where you are at this moment in time.  You are not in the past, you are not in the future – you are right here, right now, in this moment, the next moment is not promised. Focus on where you are at this point, and stop worrying about where you will be 10 minutes from now.” This changed me.

 

 

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“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know.  But if you listen you may learn something new.” – The Dalai Lama said this originally, and obviously he didn’t say this directly to me.  A counselor at my old rehab center quoted him and it made a huge impact on me.  In a conversation, I used to anxiously wait for the other person to finish speaking so that I could say my piece, which means I wasn’t listening to a word they said, just waiting for my turn to talk. I wonder how many important things I missed in doing so?

 

 

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You can’t pour from an empty cup – Self care is so important. You can’t expect to be any good to anyone, if you are drained mentally, physically and spiritually.  This is also why on airplanes they say to “First put your on your oxygen mask before helping others.” Because if I run out of oxygen, I can’t continue to help anyone else.

 

 

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Learn to let things go that you cannot control- This one is huge, and while I truly understand the significance and truth to this statement, I regularly find myself having to verbally remind myself of this in certain situations.  Trying to control things beyond your control does nothing but create relentless inner turmoil.  I must Recognize I am powerless, take a deep breathe, and exhale the responsibility of fixing the situation, releasing it into the universe where a power greater than myself can bear the burden of sorting it out.  I am always amazed at the weight that is lifted during that exhale.

 

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“If you fuel your journey on the opinions of others, you are going to run out of gas” – Steve Marable – This author and behavioral scientist said this originally, but someone in the rooms shared it with me during a personal bout with low self esteem.  This one took a lot of practice,  because the need to be liked by others is ingrained in my DNA. I regularly need to remind myself that “my value doesn’t decrease based on others inability to see my worth.” (Another favorite of mine, although I’m not sure who originally said it, as there are conflicting reports.)

 

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Resentments are like setting yourself on fire, and expecting the other person to die of smoke inhalation – This one really hit home with me as I am the queen of holding grudges. After hearing this I realized “my enemy” was probably going about their daily life, not thinking twice about me – meanwhile I was stewing in anger and hatred for the person. It was destroying my inner peace and achieving nothing.

 

 

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The only difference between good days and bad days, is your attitude – They say life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. This is so true.  If I get a flat tire, I can either allow myself to fill with rage, calling the tire company to curse them out and tell them how incompetent they are, spending the remainder of the day reflecting on my bad fortune – or – I can take a breathe, laugh at this misfortune and realize the tire has popped and that is now in the past. Then I can begin to calmly come up with a plan to amend the situation. One of these choices will result in a ruined day – and it is all up to me.

 

 

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Play the tape all the way through – If you are in recovery, you have probably heard this saying countless times. What this basically means is “Before making the decision to use, don’t just think about the part that seems fun then shut the tape off, play it all the way through to see how it ends – usually in jails, institutions and death.”  However this doesn’t only have to apply to using, it can apply any time we find ourselves on the brink of making an impulsive decision. What does the end of the tape look like, and will we be happy with the results.

 

 

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Stop projecting! – This one is my favorite, because it is so important.  So many of us spend our days looking toward the future, worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. The dreaded “but what if” causes fantasies of imaginary situations that are purely hypothetical and result in nothing but stress. We are projecting.  We are looking ahead, instead of being present and we are meeting our problems halfway, instead of waiting for them to come to us.  This advice has allowed me to spend less time worrying, and more time living.

I believe that I am a better person today, than I ever was, even before addiction.  The reason being that today I live by a specific set principals, principals that I was taught through the program of Narcotics Anonymous.  In the program, we don’t just learn how to stay clean, we learn to live a meaningful and purposeful life.  We learn how to be the best version of ourselves possible.  I believe that if we as people – addict or not – remain teachable, than there is no limit to the ways that we can grow, and the things we can  achieve.

 

 

 

A Letter To The Teen Who’s Experimenting With Drugs.

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Hey there you little rebel you. How’s it going? So listen – I know you don’t know me, which probably makes it super creepy that I’m writing to you, but I’ve got some pretty important stuff to tell you, so you gotta hear me out.

I can tell you – from experience – that being a teen is tough.  School, relationships, mid term tests, and your naggy, annoying parents (ugh-parents are the worst aren’t they?). Right now you are in the process of trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in, and you are probably learning that it is much more fun to be rebellious, than to be a goody two -shoes and follow all the rules, (boooooooring.)

Peer pressure is a powerful force at your age, and the desire to be liked and fit in with the “cool kids” has led you to experiment with drugs. (How do I know? I’m a mom-we know everything)

This is why I’m writing to you. 

I know that you have been smoking some grass, (Gonja? Green? What are you kids calling it these days?), and chances are – you enjoy it.  It makes you laugh uncontrollably and have the appetite of an NFL player. You are probably stuffing your face with Cheetos and watching a documentary about Zebras in amazement, as we speak. I get it, your peers are doing it, and it sure as hell beats sitting at home listening to your Mom complain about how dirty your freakin bedroom is.  But I’m here to drop a knowledge bomb on you real quick. And if you are wondering just who the hell I think I am to lecture you – let’s just say, I’m an expert in the field of…Ahem…your newfound “hobby”.

See I know something you are unaware of.  I know what comes next. The part that no one thinks of when they make the decision to try a drug for the first time.

If you do a drug, there is a very good chance that your body -your physical body – will get addicted to it.  You are probably saying to yourself “No way stranger lady, you don’t even know me, I’m strong-I would never let that happen.” And I am here to tell you – You. Are. Wrong.  I know, because it happened to me. (Also, it’s a scientific fact that if you do a drug enough your body will become addicted so…… booyah)

Once your body becomes addicted, it will rely on that drug to function properly, if your body doesn’t continue to receive doses of that drug, it will rebel in ways you can’t even begin to comprehend.  Imagine the worst flu you’ve ever experienced.  Your mommy was probably sitting at the edge of your bed, petting your head and hand feeding you soup with a spoon.  You probably had to stay home from school because you felt terrible and couldn’t “bear” to sit in class feeling the way you did.

Now multiply that feeling by 300, and while your at it-go ahead and hit yourself in your arms and legs with a hammer a few times.  Now imagine being drenched in sweat, your body temp 104 degrees, yet you are freezing as if standing in an igloo.  Now picture sitting on the toilet for hours with a bucket in front of you as your body attempts to empty the poison from within it – you still aren’t even close to imagining what withdrawal feels like.

This feeling of withdrawal is so powerful, that you will do just about anything to avoid it.  This means, that you will need money to buy more of the drugs to avoid feeling sick.  What happens if you don’t have the money? Good question – you have a few options here.  But the 2 quickest and most common ways are: 1) Lie to and con your loved ones into giving you the money or 2) Taking it without their knowledge.

You are probably shaking your head as you read this saying “No way, I would never do that to my family.” But guess what? You have never experienced withdrawal. You can’t possible have an idea of what you would do in that amount of physical and mental anguish.

Aside from the physical pain – the drug also affects your brain.  Basically what happens is – the addiction climbs up into your mind and hi-jacks it. It grabs on to the steering wheel and starts controlling your every thought, and your every move.  Addiction makes you do unimaginable things, things you never knew you were capable of.  It will turn you into a liar, a thief, and a criminal.  Contrary to popular belief – being a criminal sucks. It makes it incredibly difficult to get a job or own a home, as employers and realtors generally frown upon criminal history.

Anyway, listen, If someone had written me a letter similar to this, I might have taken a different path.  I may have avoided going to jail, living at a rehab facility, losing countless jobs, and destroying relationships with my loved ones .  I might have gone to college, I would most likely have a career by now -making money, owning a home, and going on vacations- but I didn’t know. I am a 31 year old waitress who is only just beginning to live her life. I spent 10 years lost in the fog of addiction, 10 years I can never get back.  It seemed fun, I wanted to feel different, I wanted to fit in and temporarily escape. I had no idea what I was getting into, and It cost my everything.

I pray you will take my advice (which, you may not, because sometimes we have to learn thing the hard way) however if you chose not to, I want you to at least take a break from googling cat videos on Youtube for a second, and spend some time educating yourself about the realities of drug use and addiction……  It may just save your life.

Sincerely,

The girl who learned the hard way.

P.s. Be nice to your parents, they aren’t going to be around forever….

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So, This Happened.

My Husband is watching basketball, and I am bored – so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to tell you all a quick, very embarrassing story.  The main reason I am writing this, is because if I appear to be busy typing something important, my husband won’t make me watch basketball with him….shhhhh….

Anyway, the year was 2008-ish.  Social media then, was nothing like it is now.  It had only just begun to take off, people still did things and lived their lives around that time.  So, here’s the deal, I had gone to Victoria’s Secret that morning, because I hadn’t updated my underwear style since 7th grade.  I was around 23 and lived with my boyfriend, so I figured it would be nice if he happened to catch glimpses of cute lacey little undies, instead of my regular Ninja Turtle granny panties.

When I got home from the mall, I went into my room to check out my new stuff.  I had been home alone and decided what the hell-let me try some of these bad boys on.  I modeled my new stuff in the mirror, and the idea hit me out of nowhere – I should take cute pics in them and send them to my man.  I never did stuff like that, so I decided I probably should, you know – to keep the spark alive.

Anywho, I put my camera on a self timer and began posing as it snapped the pics,. Like seriously, there was a second there where I thought I was on the Victoria’s Secret Runway, I was not messin around.

Once I was satisfied with the 600 pictures I had taken, I decided to download a picture editing app to make them look fancy by adding filters and what not. Keep in mind this was all new to me, but I was fascinated that the ability to edit pictures myself was a reality.  So I open my Appstore and type in “Picture Editor.” The very top one had an icon of a little camera.  Awesome.  I downloaded it, and accepted all their random terms and conditions quickly so I could get down to business with editing.  I began uploading the photos I liked to alter them into sexy little masterpieces.  I made some black and white, some were sepia and others had a beautiful vignette around the outer edges. I don’t want to bragggg but – they looked awesome.  Once I finished, I changed back into my normal clothes and went outside to smoke a cigarette – (yes I smoked back then, and photoshoots are exhausting, I needed a break.)

I stubbed the cigarette out into the ashtray and went back inside and I immediately noticed my phone was lighting up with a new text.  It was from my sister in New York.  The subject line had a question mark, so I plopped down on the couch to see what it was all about.  I expanded her text – and almost s*** my pants. My jaw hit the floor and I immediately began sweating profusely.

It was a picture…of my ass….that I had just taken 15 minutes before….

What? Huh? How? Kill me.  I called her immediately to ask how she got it.  I asked how the hell she snuck into my damn house without me knowing and how long she had been there. She informed me that her male coworker had brought it to her attention….Whattttttt?

I asked her how the hell he got that photo as I began searching my home for hidden cameras.  Once she explained to me what had happened, I wanted to dig a hole, crawl into it- never to emerge again.

FunFact: Instagram is not a photo editing app.  Another Fun Fact: It is imperative that you read the terms and conditions before accepting them, or you may just end up linking your Facebook to your Instagram.  If you follow this advice, you may just avoid giving your male 10th grade social studies teacher, your boyfriends mom and your grandma a front row seat to your personal peep show.

It took me 45 minutes to figure out how to get the pictures off and delete the app. FML.

The End.

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #5

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #4

Hey Friend!
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.
The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order! I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.
I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog
Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know. And thank you for being a part of my journey. You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.
Me love you long time…
Tiffany Jenkins

“Attitude of Bratitude”

Today was one of those days. You know the days-where the universe is conspiring against you, and you decide to throw a party, of the pity variety. It’s only 9:30, and everything that could go wrong, has.

I woke up to find that my sweet baby girl had turned her crib into a life sized toilet bowl. The smell is what initially awoke me from my delightful slumber. The aroma of baby poo wafted about the room until it reached my nostrils, engaging my mom brain into the ‘on’ position. I jumped out of bed and was met with the sight I can only describe as a crime scene. I wanted to cry, however since that would only prolong this experience, further spreading the mess as she twisted and cried, I sprung into action. I ran to the bathtub and tossed her in.  Well, I set her in it. I got her all cleaned up and changed. It’s now 8:00 am. My son heard the commotion and woke up screaming, demanding to be held. I however now needed a shower before I could touch him.

I showered quickly and held him for a split second, until the realization that my landlord was coming in 3 hours to show our house suddenly popped into my head-at which point panic took over. I yelled “Aubrey!” at the top of my lungs and she came running out of her room with a look of terror on her face. “What?!” she said to me, surveying the room for blood, a choking baby, or whatever else could have caused my random outburst. I just stared at her for a second. I honestly have no clue why I screamed her name. Apparently my brain decided she needed to be present for my panic attack for some reason.

I quickly dressed everyone, poured some dry cereal into ziplock baggies and loaded everyone into the car. I had plans to make pancakes this morning, however due to unforeseen circumstances, that s**t was not happening.

On the drive to take Kaiden to school, I hit every red light. I am fairly certain that those lights had a meeting that morning and were like “Okay guys, Tiffs gonna be leaving her house in about 20 mins.  We gotta make sure we all turn red the minute she approaches, its gonna be hilarious, she’s gonna be all ‘ahhh, eff my life’-pounding the steering wheel and stuff, its gonna be great, lets go.”

Anyway I dropped Kaiden off and headed home, I realized I needed gas or else Aubrey and I were gonna have to push the car down the road while Chloe steered. I put my credit card into the machine at the pump and the words I dreaded most appeared across the across the screen- “Please see cashier.” Had my children not been in the car I would have set that place on fire.  Instead I unloaded both of them and hauled them inside. Apparently that machine was broken, so I moved my car,  I got the gas and headed home.

I put the T.V. on for Aub and set Chloe down for a nap so that I could begin the daunting task of getting this place spotless in under an hour. All Aubrey saw was flashes of brown hair and pajamas as I whipped past her. I ran the length of the living room with my finger on the trigger as I emptied an entire bottle of Febreeze into the air. 45 minutes, 2 cups of coffee and a few curse words later, I finished the job.

I collapsed on the coach and pulled out my phone to check the time. I had received a new message, it had been sent 30 minutes before. It was from my landlord. “The guy cancelled on me Tiff, sorry about that.”

My first thought was to drive to his house, ring the doorbell, and throat punch him.  My second thought was to throw myself on the floor and cry. I ended up laughing-it started quietly at first, then escalated into a weird cackle. I had officially lost my mind. Suddenly, I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.

It was as if the universe slapped me back into reality.  I had forgotten all about my rusty toolbox of tips and tricks that had been bestowed upon me once I choose this new way of life in recovery. I would periodically add new tools to the box to use as time progressed, pulling them out during times of conflict as a means to resolve my problems. Evidently however, I have been under the impression that I didn’t need the tools I possessed, that I could just use my own hands to fix my life. This is a big mistake.

I mentally rifled through my Tool Box and located a tool that had saved my life a thousand times over….

Having an “Attitude of Gratitude” is one of the most important things someone like me needs to possess. It is easy in the hustle and bustle of my daily life to lose sight of how wonderful things actually are. At times, after prolonged sobriety, we begin to forget where we came from, and the stepping stones we passed over during the journey of reaching our goals.  I decided to make a gratitude list right then and there, and to say the results were humbling was an understatement. I realized I was in fact grateful, for ALL of the things I had been complaining about just this morning.

Once I changed my attitude from “Bratitude”  to “Gratitude”,  I was able to see things from a completely different perspective.

My daughter invited me to an unwanted morning poop party – I have been blessed with a daughter with whom I love and cherish.

My son was screaming and annoying me with his need for attention at an inconvenient time-I have a son who will be grown before I know it.

I hit every red light on my morning drive- In my own vehicle that I am lucky to own.  I used to gladly take the Scat bus everywhere, now I’m whining about having to sit in my air conditioned car for a few extra seconds.

The machine didn’t accept my card at the gas station-I had money, on a card, to afford gas-to put in the car I own.

I had to clean my messy house – I have a house, and it is messy because my loved ones have fun and I am able to afford toys for them to leave around.

My landlord cancelled on me- okay I’m still a little bitter about this one. But, I am now free to take my girls to the park to meet up with an old friend that I haven’t seen since high school.

My higher power has a plan for me each and every day, I need to remember to stay out of his way and allow that plan to unfold.  When I try to control everything around me, and place expectations on people and situations, I am setting myself up for anxiety and resentments. All of the problems I experience each day are created in my own mind-based on how I view a certain situation. Happiness is a choice I have to continue to make. I can either stomp around loathing my current situation, or I can switch my perspective and focus on the positive aspect of it. My attitude has the ability to affect all of those around me, especially my children – therefore, I must continually strive for happiness and content with what I have, and never forget where I came from- and how much worse it could be.

Today- I am grateful for the mess, the unforeseen obstacles, the inconvenient setbacks and the surprises I am met with throughout the course of my day, for all of these things mean one thing…I am alive…and that in itself is a beautiful gift.

 

10 Ways To Be a Kick A** Step Parent.

Being a step parent is one of the most challenging and confusing titles one can hold – as there are many gray areas that go along with raising someone else’s child as if they were your own.  Knowing when to step back and when to step in, or when to speak up and when to remain quiet – can take a while to sort out.  Parenting your own child is confusing as it is, with a stepchild there are usually a few other disciplinarians in the picture that you have to consider when establishing rules.

I have had my struggles in the past-misguided resentments, frustration and control issues-just to name a few.  Over time I realized it was up to me to create that bond with her.  I was the adult, and she wasn’t just going to wake up one day and feel close to me based on the fact I happened to love her dad.  I chose to put the effort into our relationship and in return-she blossomed.  I have decided to share some things that worked for me, in case you need a new perspective while you are in the process of working on a personal relationship of your own with a stepchild.

1. Spend one-on-one time with them.

There is nothing kids love more than attention ( Okay, maybe ice cream), either way-children love it when someone shows interest in things they enjoy. (If I had a dollar for every I heard “Momma Look! Watch mom! I’d be rich.”  Find out what their hobbies are and plan a time when just the two of you can explore them.  Not only will it make them happy that you are showing excitement for things they are passionate about, it will be a good opportunity for you to converse with them and get to know them better.

2. Get excited when you see them.

This kind of goes back to the giving them attention thing.  Whenever my bonus daughter walks through the door I usually yell something like “Heyyyyy pretty girllll!” and give her an embarrassing dancey hug while giving her about 10 too many kisses all over her head. Obviously avoid this advice if they are over the age of 12- otherwise you will just creep them out. But if they are younger than that-act ridiculous. She giggles uncontrollably as soon as she walks in the door, and that sets the tone for the rest of our time together.

3. Insist on being the one to tuck them in and tell them a bedtime story.

My kiddo and I have a routine every night.  I tuck her in (literally) then I sit on the edge of the bed and make up a crazy story. I use her as the main character, and add a scary moment, and then a happy ending.  I usually leave it with a cliffhanger, so that she is excitedly anticipating the next installment of “Bedtime Stories with Tiff” the following night. I give her a kiss and a hug and tell her that I’m so happy she is in my life. She goes to bed with a smile on her face every night….(as we all should)

4. Create something together.

Here’s what you do- hop on Google (or Pinterest, for all you fancy pants out there) and search for fun crafts for kids. Make a quick supply list and shoot on over to the Dollar Tree. Grab said supplies and head home to lay it all out on the table.  When they get there, the two of you make an awesome masterpiece and hang it somewhere in the house.  Every time either of you passes it by, you will remember the wonderful bonding time you spent creating it together.

5. Be consistent when disciplining.

Believe it or not, children thrive in a routine environment. They crave consistency. If you tell them they are not allowed to have chocolate before bed, and they defiantly inform you that “Grandma lets them eat ice cream in bed as they are falling asleep”-stick to your guns. Establish rules and boundaries for your home so that they always know what to expect. And hey, if you want to reward them with an ice cream sundae in their pajamas one night for getting good grades-do it….Do it because you want to, not because Grandma said it was okay.

6. Speaking of rewards, reward them for awesome behavior.

This is a fun one, because I do this regularly and I love watching her as she smiles with pride upon completing a task. We have a big chart on the wall with different categories: brushing your teeth without being asked, being kind to your brother, using manners, etc. We put a sticker each time she does something on the list, and after 10 stickers she gets a prize. After a while it became a habit for her to do these things and waalah!

7. Put the phone down and watch “Dora The Explorer” with them.

I know. This is probably the last thing you want to do, because the best time to scroll through Facebook uninterrupted is when the kid is preoccupied with television. However, if you are wanting to work on your relationship with the child, you can’t do it by liking a status, you have to get down on the floor with them – fists under your chin – learning Spanish from a small cartoon with a backpack.

8. Never, ever, EVER speak negatively about their birth mother/father.

Listen, your job is not to be “Captain Super Parent”, swooping in to be the perfect mother/father they always needed. Your job is to help guide them on their journey through life. Don’t make it a competition with your spouses ex.  Regardless of how hard you try, you will never be able to sway that childs opinion of their parent. I know this one can be hard sometimes, especially if you know what a deadbeat or crappy parent that person can be.  Children are unaware of conditional love, so they will adore them regardless of whether or not they have missed their birthday for 3 years in a row and never show up to their school performances. Always speak positively when speaking about their parent, it helps them in the long run, more than you realize.

9. Surprise them.

There is no greater blessing than seeing joy on childrens faces..(okay, maybe an hour alone in a bubble bath with candles-but smiles are a close second). On a Friday or Saturday, wait until they put their pajamas on and start winding down. Then tell them to “hurry up and get in the car!” and take them on a surprise trip to the ice cream shop. Tell them you’re going to (insert most boring store ever) then pull into the movie theater instead. Fill up water balloons and put them in a laundry basket, tell them to do you a favor and grab the mail- when they exit the house-sneak attack water bomb ’em. Aubrey and I had a surprise water balloon fight once and she still talks about it to this day..

10. Get Weird.

Blast “let it go” from the speakers as you drive around town yelling the lyrics at the top of your lungs.  Pull them out the front door with you once it starts raining and do a rain dance in the yard.  Hide behind doors and pop out as they walk by. Play charades, do an animal impression contest, play dress up. Life is too short to be boring.  Make their childhood as fun as humanly possible, and they will fondly reflect back on it for years to come.

There is no perfect way to be a step parent, all you need is a desire to be close with them, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to contribute positively to their life.  You are there to guide them, gently nudging them in the right direction along the way.  You are an extra person to love them, and children need as much love as they can get, there is no such thing as too much.  If you show them you care, show them you support them and show them you will always be there for them forever, then chances are when they grow up – you will be one of the people they hold closest to their heart.  Because you didn’t love them because you “had” to, you loved them because you chose to, and that makes you pretty special.

 

 

 

Uninvited- A Letter To Cancer…

“Cancer is just a reminder that life is really precious.  So many people lose focus on what life is really all about.  Everyone needs to rid themselves the drama and enjoy everyday you wake up.”-  Pauly Half Jack LaRocgue.

Dear Cancer,

Apparently you exist because sometimes,  “abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue-causing cancer.” After witnessing your affects on a loved one, I would have worded this a tad bit differently. I would have said “abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate your life and destroy it- but I’m not in charge here.

I know how you work. You knock on the door, and push your way in-uninvited.  Our family will sit around and talk about you, wondering what brought you here, and how long you will stay.  We will discuss what happens if you decide to stay forever.  We will all cry together, praying that your visit will be short.

In the meantime, we will walk around carrying on, as if you are not here.  We will try our best to act as if we are not completely devastated by your presence. We will smile, and make small talk, in an attempt to avoid acknowledging your existence.  We will pretend that the uncertainty of your unexpected arrival isn’t crippling us with sadness.

You will inevitably destroy the world we spent a lifetime creating; and then you will vanish.  But you won’t go alone-you will take our most treasured love one with you, and we will never see them again in this world.

We will sit around wondering why the hell you chose us.  Why you chose them. You were unwelcome, and despite our best efforts, we were unable to get you to leave. You came suddenly, and like a tornado, you destroyed everything you touched – leaving behind only memories and ashes-along with thousands of broken pieces that we had to pick up one by one.  You were gone physically, but you continued to haunt us through vivid images of our loved ones slowly deteriorating, these will be forever ingrained in our mind.

I think it’s important that you know how your visit affected me……

Because of you, I lost all but one of my grandparents by age 22.

Because of you, I had to gently hold both my parents hands, and tell them “It’s okay to let go now. You don’t have to fight anymore. I will always love you forever, but I’m ready to let you go” as they struggled to breath their last breaths.

Because of you, I held the hands of both of my parents lifeless bodies.

Because of you, all I have left of the people that created and raised me-is a few ashes in a box.

Because of you my mother wasn’t at my wedding-nor will she ever meet my children.  I cannot call her and ask for marriage advice or help with a recipe. She is gone from this earth. I will never see her again as long as I am alive. I will never hear her contagiously loud laugh, or see her beautiful smile in person-because of you.

Because of you, my father will never meet my daughter.  He will never rake piles out of leaves for her to jump in, or ride her around the yard in a wheelbarrow, or scare her as he yells at the top of his lungs during a scary part of a movie-like he always did with me, because of you.

Because of you, I have an irrational fear that everyone I love is going to die, anytime they leave my sight.

Because of you, my life will never, ever be the same.

However…..

Because of you I am strong. You have made me realize that I am capable of overcoming more than I thought possible. You are big, but my faith is bigger.  You may have taken the majority of my family from me, but you will never be able to take my happiness. I know I will see my parents again one day, in another life; and when I do-I know they will tell me how proud they are of me, for not letting you destroy my faith.

Because of you I will hug my husband a little tighter, I will hold my babies a little longer, and I will tell everyone exactly how much they mean to me-any chance I get.  Because life is fleeting, and I know that at any moment, you may show up at my door again…..Uninvited.

Sincerely,

Tiffany

P.S.    You Suck.

Lonely girl on a chair

Lonely girl sitting on a vintage chair

 

 

 

 

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #3

I had only tried meth once in my life.   One little puff – and I hated it.  However, as an addict, if someone offers you drugs, regardless of the brand, you do them. Before I could open my mouth to say “hell yes“, Ol’ pain in the ass (pun intended) Ilene threw a fit.  “These ain’t your drugs to offer to anyone.  I only gave you some because you went in and got em, I don’t have enough to keep sharing- sorry 4 eyes.” To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.  There is nothing worse then anticipating being high, then something prohibiting that from happening-especially if you are on day 4 of detoxing.

I was consumed by rage. I contemplated murdering both of them and taking the drugs for myself, but there were no weapons available, luckily for them.  I continued fantasizing about how I could get those drugs, I had devised a few different plans, all equally absurd – one involved repelling down from the ceiling while they napped and grabbing them out of her pocket. However, I was not Tom Cruise and this was not mission impossible so I scrapped that idea. Then a voice over the intercom interrupting my thought process. “Johnson-roll it up, you are going to Gen Pop.”

I glanced over at my cell mates looking perplexed, “So, was that English or ? What the hell did she say”?  Destiny laughed at my apparent ignorance and let me know that woman basically said to gather my belongings, because they are moving me to general population, another word for ‘one big room filled with a shit ton of criminals’.

I tried to act cool, like it was no big deal that I was about to enter a den of ravenous animals in various stages of drug withdraw suffering from undiagnosed mental problems and rage issues, but inside I was freaking out.  I gathered my mat and sheet-which took all of 4 seconds, and stood by the gate, waiting to be let out.  When the guard slid the door open, I turned around and smiled at my room mates. “It was nice meeting you guys”!  I said cheerfully, but they were too busy trying to avoid eye contact with the guard to even look up to bid me farewell.  They should really teach etiquette classes here, I think I’m gonna write someone a letter about that.

Anyway, the guard led me down a long corridor with my hands and ankles shackled.  The metal was digging into my Achilles tendon and it was incredibly painful.  “Um, excuse me, officer…” “Quiet in the hallways.”….”Okay, it’s just th-” ….”NO TALKING IN THE HALLWAYS!” ….”Kay”.  I was immediately brought back to my elementary school days.  Walking quietly in a straight line and following orders. I felt like a f***ing child. Last week I was managing a restaurant, and today I’m getting screamed at for saying words.

Alright, I’m going to undo these shackles and send you in with Miss Flower.” Awww Miss Flower, she sounds nice. He unlocked my chains, and my ankles immediately felt better.  I walked into the dark room and found Miss Flower standing there with her hand on her gun. “Take your clothes off, please.” Miss Flower demanded. “Woah woah woah, we just met, it’s a little soon don-” She interrupted before I could finish my joke. “Jesus Christ, you are literally the millionth person to say that shit to me. Take your g** damn clothes off and put your hands on the wall, now.” I wanted desperately to say another joke at this point, but decided against it.

I felt very uncomfortable showering in front of a complete stranger, so when she asked me to”bend over and spread”, I reached a whole other level of humiliation.  “Put these on”, she said, tossing me a new outfit. She handed me a roll of toilet paper, a toothbrush, then said “We are out of soap, tell the night guards they will bring you one.” “No problem.” I said, not realizing it would be 4 more days until my soap would arrive. Turns out my comfort wasn’t their main priority-I came to learn this and many other fun facts about the guards as time went on.

She led me to a large door and said “Ready “ into her walkie talkie to someone who was in charge of opening the doors remotely.  I wanted to grab her walkie and yell “Wait! I’m not ready. ” into it, but I figured it would probably get me tased.  As the door clicked she pulled it open and said “You’re in 5“, shutting it behind me. The loud roar of wild women suddenly stopped short. There was complete silence as I had hundreds of eyes suddenly pointing in my direction.  I wasn’t sure what to do so I awkwardly smiled.  Some women laughed, some started yelling inappropriate comments, and one person yelled “police ass hoe.” I didn’t know what that meant, but later found out that if you look like you don’t belong in jail, they think you are an undercover cop.  So, that’s good.

I found cell 5 and walked in.  There were 4 mats occupying 6 of the metal bunk beds. I asked a woman with no teeth if it was okay if I put my mattress onto the unoccupied spot under her top bunk.  She said “I don’t give a flying f***”…. so….. I went to the one on the opposite side of the room.

As they day progressed I remained in bed. I was in so much physical pain from drug withdraw that it was hard to breath. I watched through the bars of my cell as women were running around, laughing and having a good time.  How the f*** could they laugh at a time like this? Do they not realize they were in jail? I realized in that moment, that I would never be happy again…

Depression and despair weighed down on me so heavily, that I felt paralyzed. I realized that I was going to spend a very long time in jail, and even when I got out, I was going to spend the rest of my life paying for and replaying what I had done in my head.  I also knew that no one would ever respect me again.  Living with the choices I had made became impossible to imagine. I didn’t have it in me to keep going.  I suddenly wanted out. The anticipation of the unexpected, the waiting and worrying – I just couldn’t,  I needed out. I could not spend one more day living in the broken body with my broken mind. Tonight, after everyone fell asleep….I was going to kill myself-and I was very much looking forward to it….

10 Things I Didn’t Anticipate With Having 2 Under 2.

Hello my friends! I almost didn’t make it.  Between driving around listening to the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack while looking at Christmas lights and hand-washing my husbands work uniforms in the bathtub (because our friggin washer broke), this almost became a “Terrible Mom Tuesday” blog. But here I am! With 2 & 1/2 hours to spare.

Anyway, as most of you know, I have 2 children who are 16 months apart, not quite “Irish Twins”, but close a-freakin-nuff.

Having a second child so that Kaiden could have another little buddy to play with was part of our plan.  My sister and I are 17 months apart, and despite giving each other black eyes and scratches all over our bodies when we were kids, I couldn’t imagine what life would have been like had I not had her around.  The decision to reproduce again was quick and spontaneous, therefore-there were many things that I did not take into consideration prior to hatching Chloe.  I knew it would be a challenge and I knew I would struggle at times-I had no idea what to expect and I have come to realize many different things over the past year. Mainly I have learned that my mother was a Goddess and it’s no wonder she built a Tiki Bar in our backyard….

13567185_10154133955400428_6233314470978698107_n_li

 

Below is a list of 10 things I did not anticipate when I made the decision to have 2 babies so close in age:

  1. There will be diapers. So. Many. Diapers. My children like to synchronize their bowel movements so that the moment I change one, I hear a familiar rumble coming from the other one-followed by an evil grin. They are conspiring against me – I can see it in their little eyes.
  2. I have to start preparing to leave the house 30 minutes before go-time. Long gone are the days of getting myself dressed and heading out the door.  Even though I am only making a quick trip to the grocery store, I must now not only lay out an outfit for myself (usually pajama pants & my husbands shirt); I must also lay out one boy outfit, one girl outfit, 2 back-up outfits (because, poop) 4 pairs of socks, 4 shoes, 4 diapers, wipes, 2 binkies, a snack, and toys.
  3. Despite my best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to get them both to fall asleep at the same time.  One drifts off, while the other cries out, rebelling against naptime.  I have to start all over with the first one and hope the second keeps its mouth quiet long enough for the other to enter deep sleep. I magically get the second one to sleep as well – then the Jehova’s witnesses come a-knockin on my front door and they are both back up..
  4. I’m covered in sweat by the time I get them both unbuckled, out of the car and into the store.  People in the parking lot point and stare as I wrestle one child out of the confines of their seatbelt yelling “Don’t fight it! Just let it happen! Then run full speed to the other side of the car while carrying a little baby on my hip to release the other.  Sometimes the onlookers clap when I’m done. No they don’t…. I made that up.
  5. Taking a shower is a challenge. I have a few options to chose from when contemplating getting myself clean. I have to either: A) Wait until another adult is present. B) Do it during naptime (Yeah, see that is when I scroll through Facebook and watch YouTube videos uninterrupted so, not really an option).  C) Put one in a high chair and the other in a play pen and listen to them scream as I rush to wash my hair, getting shampoo in my eyes and slipping and cracking my elbow. Or D) Just not take a shower. I usually go with D…..Just kidding……no I’m not.
  6. I let my children use technology waaaaayyyyy more than I ever intended. Here’s me before: “Ew, my children are NOT going to be zombies, staring at a screen all day, what kind of parent wouldn’t rather spend that time interacting with their child?” Here’s me now: “Sweet Jesus, take my phone. Here, I pulled up one of those weird “Surprise Egg” videos you like-mommy needs 5 minutes of peace. Beat it”
  7. I would have to make life or death decisions in one second flat. Here’s the scene-I’m home alone with my kids, minding my own business, when I notice my son, is trying to stick a plug into an outlet with wet hands, as I run toward him, I notice Chloe has pulled a butcher knife out of the dishwasher and is trying to get a close up view of the tip of it.  This is hypothetical, but crap like this happens everyday. It’s like being on Fear Factor.
  8. I would have to keep them separated during all meals, every time. Otherwise, my youngest will claw her brothers eyes out in an attempt to steal one of his chicken wings.  Then he will scream and collapse crying, and she will pounce on the opportunity to take advantage of him while he’s vulnerable, and steal the rest of his wings.
  9. Kaiden not realizing that Chloe, is not a toy . This issue has gotten a little better as time has passed, he was a little rough with her in the beginning.  Trying to squeeze the life out of her and drag her around by her hair.  He realizes now he can’t do things like that,  however- I still have to remind him occasionally like, “Hey Bud! Chloe is not a coloring book so, lets lay off drawing squiggles on her face, Kay?”
  10. And the last, but most important thing I did not anticipate-was being able to love my second as much as I love my first.  I have more history with Kaiden, so I found it impossible to fathom being able to re-create that love for another person. The thing is, its a completely different type of love for each child-but equally as powerful.  I love different things about each of them, and just when I think I can’t love them anymore, they giggle together and hug and my heart explodes all over the living room.                                                                                          Some people said we were crazy when they heard we would be having 2 children 16 months apart. Of course there are temporary moments of craziness: one has an accident all over the couch while the other is getting ready to jump off a chair.  One insists on being held while the other needs food. Its a constant balancing and juggling act. Keeping both babies safe and happy while attempting to do laundry, clean the home, make dinner and work can be a challenge.  We prayed that the lord would give us the strength to handle it, we prayed they would have a close bond, we prayed that we would be able to show each enough love and attention that they felt complete. The lord has given us so much more. Its double the diapers, food, car seats, clothes etc…but more importantly its double the love, joy, and laughter. I am feeling so grateful for the bond these 2 and their big sister share today, and even though I haven’t taken a proper shower since 2014, I wouldn’t change a single thing.

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail Chapter #2

 

Hey Friend!

There’s good news and there’s bad news.  Which do you want first? I’ll give you the bad news, because by now you already kinda know… This blog series is no longer available on this website. I’m sorry! I have always dreamed of writing and publishing a book, ever since my Dad bought me a typewriter on my 6th birthday.

The good news is, It’s finally happening! My book is in review on the Amazon Kindle website, and within the next few days will be available for pre-order!  I know you are probably still mad at me, but I hope that you understand that this a huge goal, that I am actually about to freakin’ accomplish.

I will post a link to the book here as soon as it becomes available, as well as share it on my facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/jugglingthejenkinsblog

Thank you for being interested in my stuff, it really means more than you know.  And thank you for being a part of my journey.  You may not realize it, but it’s people like you that inspire me to get my lazy ass out of bed each day and create content.

Me love you long time…

Tiffany Jenkins

 

120 Days In-My Time In Jail. Chapter #1.

It’s no secret, that once upon a time, I spent some time in the big house. It’s a matter of public record actually, so even if I did want it to be a secret, I’d be outta luck….Some of you have been to jail, most of you haven’t. For those of you who have never been, I have decided to fill you in on what my experience was like, as a first timer, just in case you were on the fence about whether or not jail is right for you. There are way too many things to cover at once. Therefore, I have decided to break them down into chapters.

My personal situation was a little different in that, the people arresting me, then transporting me to the jail, were my friends. In fact, I had just attended the baby shower of the person driving me to jail, the weekend before. See, I was in a relationship with a Deputy at the time of my arrest, but we will talk about that another time.

When I arrived at the jail, the first thing they did was had me change out of my pajamas, (what I was wearing at the time I was apprehended), and change into a polyester jumpsuit.  They took my earrings, my bracelet and my shoes, and gave me a pair of rubber shoes in place of mine. I tried my hardest not to think about all the different feet that had worn the shoes prior to me, but despite my best efforts, I was haunted by the thought of how many different species of bacteria were now inhabiting my foot.

The next thing they did was take me to a nurse for blood work and evaluation.  She asked me a series of questions and marked her little clipboard in response to my answers. I barely remember this interaction, as I was beginning to detox, and weakness had started creeping in.  At one point she asked “Yes or no, would you describe your crime as ‘shocking in nature’?” To which I replied, “Um yeah, probably.”

She looked up at me over the brim of her glasses, set her pen down, and leaned back in her seat. “Ok, I don’t usually do this, but you have peaked my curiousity, would you mind telling me why you consider it shocking in nature?”

I proceeded to tell her what happened and watch her expression go from curiousity, to shock, to disgust, then back to normal as she leaned forward to check something off on her clipboard. “Okay, yes, I would say that counts as shocking in nature, definitely.” She said, as she attempted to regain focus.

After my awkward interaction with the nurse, they escorted me to medical, since I would be detoxing off of opiates, they wanted me in a secure cell for monitoring. The officer slid open the heavy metal door, and slammed it shut behind me- I jumped about two feet in the air. I turned to ask him when I would be getting my phone call (I’ve seen this in movies), but he was gone. I turned back around and took inventory of my tiny room. There was a metal toilet, a metal sink, a roll of toilet paper and an empty plastic boat thing on the floor, I’m assuming I’m supposed to put this plastic mat I was holding in there to sleep.

I felt something brush against my foot, I let out a scream that sounded reminiscent of someone being murdered, I actually thought I was about to be murdered for a second..

It was then that I noticed I wasn’t alone. On the floor to my left, there was another boat, and it was occupied.  The person was wrapped from head to toe in a wool blanket, completely covered. I whispered “oh sorry” for some reason, even though I didn’t do anything.

I had been sitting in my boat, feeling like death, still in shock about being in jail. I was literally in jail, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it just yet. I had been staring at the outline of my cellmates body for about 2 hours now, wondering what exactly was under that blanket. As I was imagining what she looked like and why she was here, I heard a loud ‘click’, and noticed our cell door was opening. Some inmate in a red striped jumpsuit slid 2 trays across the floor, and shut the door. Before I could even process the contents of the tray, the wool blanket went flying and my cellmate sat straight up and stared at me.

Oh S***”, I thought to myself, it’s awake-don’t panic. “You finna eat cho dinner?” She asked, burning a hole into my soul with her angry gaze. “Oh, um hi. I’m Tiffany, I’m not sur– I mean I’m not that hung- I hadn’t really thought about it, how come?” I said, trying to keep it cool and hide the fact that I was terrified….”Cuz Ima eat it if you ain’t.” She said, never breaking eye contact. I felt my palms start to sweat. “Oh okay, ya sure, go right ahead, I’m not hungry anyway, actually I don’t even really like food, so….”

She didn’t even thank me, which I thought was totally rude. She lunged for the trays and returned to her position. I didn’t want to awkwardly stare at her while she ate, so I laid down in my plastic boat and closed my eyes. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I was feeling way too sick, but I didn’t know what else to do with myself……I listened to her chomp away like a cow as she gorged on my dinner, the disgusting sound of her eating was then interrupted by her voice…..”Let me see them boobs.”

My eyes popped back open and I pointed them at her to see who she was talking to. She was staring at me.  “I’m sorry?” I asked, perhaps I didn’t hear her correctly, maybe she said books, were there books in here? Please let there be books in here….

“Your boobs, let me see them.” She said with a straight face, her eyes locked on mine.

Now, if you were in my shoes what would you have said? “Screw you?” “No way.” “You’re crazy, leave me alone?” Any of those responses would have been appropriate.  However, I was terrified, and I had seen enough movies to know that jail fights are as common as finding a penny on the ground at the supermarket, and I was not about to get my ass kicked my first day in.

“Are you being serious or no? I can’t tell.”

“Does it look like I’m being serious?” She said, looking serious.

“Okay, is that a thing? Is that what people do? Is this like initiation or something, I don’t really want to be in a gang I jus-“

“G**damnit it show me your t**s, I don’t know how many times I gotta ax you girl.”

My hands shook as I grabbed the bottom of my shirt, and showed her. I pulled my shirt back down and settled back into my cot, awaiting further instruction.  She didn’t say a word.  She just kept peeling her orange. I sat in silence, trying to read her face for clues as to what the hell was going on around here, and why I just had to flash this complete stranger, but I got nothing.  She finished her orange and slid the trays back to the door. She sat and stared at me for a moment. I smiled, because I didn’t know what else to do. “Breakfast is at 6, let me know if you want it or not.” She pulled the blanket over her head and flopped back down into her cot…

I sat there in silence, staring at the outline of her body once again.  Is this what I have to look forward to? I’ve only been here 3 hours and I’ve already given up a meal and showed my boobs. My drug withdraw wasn’t even full swing and I still hadn’t gotten to make a phone call. I was stuck in 8ftX10ft cell with a lesbian womanbeast, and no one has told me anything about what my charges were, when I was getting out, or what happens next. Tears started rolling down my cheeks as the uncertainty of everything overwhelmed me. I was alone, and confused, and I realized right then and there that I better get some thicker skin, and quick…… I had many strange, uncomfortable, scary situations in store for me, and this was only the beginning………

 

 

 

Dear Technology: You Are Kinda Ruining My Life.

Listen guys, I’m a little sad.  It’s a strange kind of sad, almost like mourning.  It’s like when you drop your favorite coffee mug, and it cracks.  You may be able to glue it back together, but the truth is, despite your best efforts, you know it will never be the same.

I have that exact feeling, when I think about the world, more specifically, our society.  It has changed drastically in a short amount of time, and I know deep down in my heart, it will never be the same.  I’m talking about technology.  I know this subject has been talked about countless times on social media (ironically), but I’m gonna go ahead and add to what has already been said; technology is awesome, but it also really sucks.

The other day, Aubrey and Kaiden were reading a book, the kind where you press a button and an animal makes a noise to correlate with a picture.  Kaiden was mimicking the animal noises and the two of them proceeded to laugh hysterically, then eagerly smash the next button. Guess what? I. Missed. All. Of. It…..

Why? Because I was more interested in reading about why Sarah – the girl who sat 2 seats behind me in class in middle school, whom I had spoken maybe 2 sentences to in my entire lifetime – wasn’t going to be shopping at Walmart anymore because they refused to give her the merchandise at the price it was listed for in the aisle….

What the hell is wrong with me? Why would I rather read about “The Top 5 Reasons Squirrels Would Make Great Pets”, rather than shift my eyes 2 feet to the right, and take in the glorious sight of the little human beings I created dancing to the Macarena? It baffles me, yet I find myself continuing to do it every single day, and I’m confident that I’m not alone.

I take my kids to the park, and I am not savoring the moments, I am busy attempting to take the perfect picture. “Guys, stop what your doing and look at Mommy! Say Cheese! No, Aubrey honey, your eyes were shut, again ready? Say cheese! Ok, nope, no, get closer to your brother, yeah put your arm around him.  Yes that’s perfect! Good, Ok now lets get one of you guys going down the slide……”

My memories are constantly being interrupted, due to my incessant need to capture them. Experiences aren’t even experiences anymore, they are photo ops.

When I was younger, I specifically remember being so curious what my friends were up to at any given moment. I would call their house phone, and if they didn’t answer, all I knew was that they had left their house, destination: unknown. Now all I have to do is click a couple buttons and I can tell you where they are, who they are with, where they were two hours ago, what they had for breakfast, what show they watched last week, what time they wiped their a** and what brand of detergent they are going to wash their clothes with tonight. The mysteries of life, aren’t really mysteries anymore.

A family goes out to dinner to eat, and their children are playing games on a tablet, like, when I was little, I was lucky if I got to draw on the back of the paper menu with a pen from my moms purse. Nowadays kids can update their status, talk to someone in China, and play a full round of Mario Kart before the appetizer even arrives.

I feel like hundreds of years from now, evolution is going to run it’s course, and the humans of the future are all going to be hunchbacks with elongated necks. Because 90% of our lives are spent looking downward at some kind of electronic.  I mean, the minute a commercial comes on the T.V. I’m reaching for my phone so that I can aimlessly scroll through opinions, memes & videos of goats singing. Why is that my go to? Why can’t I just be still, be present, be free? It’s simple, because that’s not what we do anymore. We need constant stimulation.

Imagine sitting in a room, and instead of holding a cell phone, you are holding a piece of cardboard. Just a small, plain piece of cardboard. Imagine your children calling your name over and over as you ignore them to stare at this piece of cardboard. Your alarm goes off in the morning and you immediately reach for your cardboard, and you lay in bed staring at it for the first 15 minutes of your day. Picture sitting in class and instead of paying attention, you are randomly sneaking glances at your cardboard. Out to dinner with friends, while you wait for your food to arrive, everyone just whips out their cardboard and stares at it, like zombies. Really picture it for a second. It sounds crazy right? Like a weird cult of brainwashed cardboard people. ………Just blankly staring, occasionally letting out a chuckle…for hours and hours…….When you replace the cardboard with a phone, and you replace those zombie with you, and I, and our children; it’s suddenly not so crazy right? But it is crazy. When you actually stop for a second, and realize what we are doing….it is.

So what do we do about it? Do we all gather together and start a revolution, throwing our cell phones, laptops and tablets into a raging fire while chanting “No More Technology! We Want Freedom!” in protest?

Naw, that’s never going to happen……Ever. Sadly, it’s too late. We have become too reliant on our phones, if they went away, we would all kind of be sitting around anxiously wondering what the hell to do with ourselves.  We’d be eating at crappy restaurants because we were unable to check Yelp for reviews, we would have to attempt to work an AM/FM radio to listen to music, but would just end up twisting all the big knobby button things to no avail, giving up and sitting in silence. We would pick up the house phone to call our grandma and wish her a happy birthday, only to realize we didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell her number was because house phones don’t have a “contact list”, and we would all be driving around town lost and hanging out the window asking for directions, because none of us owns a map.

However, fear not….All hope is not lost. There are a few things we can do, starting today, to create better habits for ourselves and our family. I believe if we start making a conscious effort to do these things, as hard as it may be at first, our lives will improve drastically.

*Start small. Monday through Friday, create a “phone free zone”. So from, let’s say, 7:00pm to 9:00pm, every family member is required to turn their phone OFF. (But what if there’s an emergency, what if my boy crush Billy Baxter calls…blah blah blah,) No.  There was a time when phones didn’t exist, and people used lanterns to light up the house, you’ll be fine.  You should turn the T.V. off too. You will all be awkwardly sitting around at first, realizing you have no idea really, how to function or what to do without a phone, but as time goes on it will get easier, and you will think of creative ways to fill that time as a family.  You might learn things about one another you never knew, and even crazier, you may just end up having fun *gasp!*

*If you go out to dinner with your friends, you will be there an hour, 2 hours max. Put everyone’s phones in a bag under the table. The first person to touch their phone, has to pay the bill for the person to their left. You can snap a photo of yourselves in the parking lot at the end of the night if you must.

*If you are playing with your baby/kids, really play with them.  Don’t try to momentarily stimulate them to get a cute picture of them laughing.  Throw your phone at least 2 feet away, and spend some time just genuinely enjoying your babies. They will only be that age for that moment, they are growing older every second, of everyday.

*Your mom didn’t give birth to a phone. She didn’t spend hours rocking a phone to sleep, changing it’s diapers, taking it to soccer practice, wiping it’s tears away, and paying for it’s college; that was you, she did that for you.  Don’t just send her a “Hey Mom, I miss you” text.  Pick up the damn phone and call that woman. Give her the pleasure of hearing your voice, your laugh, your personality. Better yet, pay her a real life visit, if it’s possible. She won’t always be there, trust me.

*Leave your phone at home every now and then.  I know this sounds completely unimaginable to some of you, but it’s possible. I do it all the time.  You would be amazed how much more of the world you are able to take in, when you don’t have your leash with you. It’s actually quite freeing.

Can you imagine if every memory you have of your parents, consisted of them staring down at a phone? The smallest changes can make the biggest impact on our children and I truly believe, this technology addiction has severely affected some aspects of our quality of life.  Don’t get me wrong. I admire the technological advances we have made, I have found it to be incredibly useful. I just feel that there is a fine line between convenience and reliance, and we have to be careful.

SO, having said all this, I am going to practice what I preach.  Starting today (Monday) I will be implementing a “No Phone Zone” rule in my house, (shhhh, I haven’t told my husband yet.)  I am very much looking forward to the extra memories I create this week, and will be reporting back soon to let you know how the week went.  If you are crazy enough to try this with me, I would really love to hear about how it went for you. Was it harder than you thought? Easier than you thought? Did you do anything amazing that you might have otherwise missed? I really want to know.

I meant what I said earlier, our children are getting older by the second, as are we.  Life is fleeting, and temporary, it can be over in an instant.  Let’s try and make sure we are looking up, when that time comes…….

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Well Hello PPD, I Wasn’t Expecting You.

Don’t you just hate that feeling of dreading going to sleep, because you know the next day, you have to wake up and take care of your children? You know your newborn is gonna be there when you get up, looking at you and crying, and want to be fed and have her diaper changed, your toddler is going to want breakfast and to change out of his pajamas, and all you want to do is leave them alone in their cribs and run out of the house and never come back.  That feeling of resenting them because they are so needy and all they do is take, take, take giving you nothing in return. Ugh, that’s such a drag, isn’t it? …..

Wait, why do you look so confused?  ….. You are probably sitting there wondering what kind of monster could possibly say those things about their own children. Well, I’d like to introduce myself, I am Tiffany, and that monster was me.

My first pregnancy was glorious.  When my little man came earth side, everything was right in the world. I would hear his little cry in the middle of the night and fly out of bed, eager to comfort this sweet, innocent, wonderful little being that I had created. We would wake up in the morning and I would spend literally hours, just studying his beautiful little face. I would snap 8,000 pictures of him in the same pose, then when he would nap, I would smile as I looked through all of the pictures I had just taken an hour before. My love for him was overwhelming, and I would have done anything within my power to make sure that baby was cared for.

I got pregnant again when Kaiden was 6 months old. I had wanted to have another baby. We planned it so that Kaiden could have a sibling close in age. I knew I wanted another child, and I didn’t want to have to start all over later on in life, so we decided to just pop another one out right away.

I knew this new baby was going to give me a run for my money when I found out I had Gestational Diabetes.  During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can make enough insulin to handle that. If not, your blood sugar levels will rise and can cause Gestational Diabetes. Long story short, I had to spend the remaining duration of my pregnancy eating cheese and crackers and pricking my fingers to check my blood 4x a day. All I wanted was a lot of ice cream and I couldn’t have it. This baby hadn’t even been born yet and I already had a small, unjustified resentment against her.

My delivery was a breeze, Chloe was out in under 4 minutes. All of the resentment I had felt prior had been erased the moment I laid eyes on her.  She immediately made me realize all of the sacrifices I had made during pregnancy were worth it.  She arrived healthy and happy and life was good.

Until we brought her home… She cried all night that first night. Literally…The. Entire. Night…..And she didn’t stop, for about 2 weeks.  If her eyes were open, she was screaming. I spent every night trying to keep her quiet as to not wake my husband, and her brother and sister. Everyone would rise for the day, and I would still be awake.  They would enter the living room chipper and ready to start the day, and I would be on the couch with one eye closed, the other half open, covered in poop and my own tears, rocking back and forth furiously in a desperate attempt to achieve one moment of silence.

Chloe would eventually fall asleep around 10, but I didn’t have the luxury of taking a nap with her, because I still had a 1 year old, and sometimes a 5 year old to look after.  I found myself becoming short fused. Kaiden would want to laugh and play, but all I wanted to do was sleep. I found myself crying out in desperation numerous times throughout the day. I questioned on many different occasions whether or not I made the right choice in having her.   It became impossible to form a bond with this screaming child that I was supposed to love.

I found myself lying in bed, dreading having to wake up the next day to take care of my own children.  I didn’t want to do it.  I resented them for existing.  I know this may sound unfathomable to most of you, but it was my reality at the time. I. Did. Not. Want. To. Be. A. Mom. Anymore.

I had slipped into a depression. I didn’t have the energy to shower, I stopped answering my texts, because I got sick of lying to everyone when they asked me how the baby was. I couldn’t tell the truth, which, at the time would have sounded like this; “Hey! thanks for asking, she actually sucks, all she does is scream and cry, yeah, and her big brother like, constantly wants my attention, it’s super annoying, uh huh, yeah and I don’t even have the energy to shower, let alone take care of 2 kids,  I kinda want to die, so, other than that, things are good!”  

I didn’t want to tell my husband the truth about how I felt, because I didn’t want him to think I was a bad mother, or regret choosing me as the one to bear his children. I didn’t really know how to talk to anyone else about it either.  It is a hard thing to put into words, that form a sentence, that would make any sense to anyone, so I kept it to myself. I buried it deep down and continued pretending all was ok. I was drowning, and taking my little ones down with me, and there was no one there to rescue me.

I didn’t have it in me to do it anymore.  The constant screaming, the constant yelling, the constant crying, it was too much to bear. I needed out. My kids didn’t deserve this, it wasn’t their fault, they didn’t ask to be born.  They were beautifully delicate little humans who needed love, protection and compassion, and at that time, I had none to give.

I googled “I am depressed and just had a baby, help me.” A million websites popped up immediately all saying “Post partum depression.” I had heard about it, I think my Dr. talked to me about it, but I had paid no attention at the time because I was waiting with baited anticipation for my ultrasound.  I began reading the various threads and was immediately overcome with emotion. This was real, and it was common.  The moment I realized I wasn’t in fact a psychopath, I called my Doctor. I cried to them telling them the entire truth, begging them to help me. They got me in that very day. (Shout out to Dr. Sullivans office!)

The Dr. Spoke to me as if he had had this conversation thousands of times, and that made me take my first big sigh of relief, in as long as I could remember.  He went over my options, and we came up with a treatment plan we both felt would work best.

I joined a support group of moms with PPD and gained a wealth of knowledge from others whom had experienced my same struggles. I told the group my story, and someone suggested I get my daughter to the E.R. to be checked for “Silent Reflux.” I went that night, sure enough, she had it.  They put her on Zantac and kept us there for 3 days to monitor her.  That night, was the first night she had slept since she had been born.

After getting help for myself, and my daughter, my world changed.  I was able to enjoy her smiles, her giggles and her funny little faces. I watched her sleep peacefully and felt an overwhelming feeling of love and pride. I was finally able to begin bonding with her once we were both feeling better. My son had his mom back, and my daughter had the mother she always deserved.

Reaching out for help became an easy thing once I realized I wasn’t alone.  The fear of how people may have perceived my emotional state, kept me from getting the help I needed much sooner. I wish I would have gotten help straight away, but then again, I am glad I got to experience those feelings.  Not only because it gives me an appreciation for my life now, that is renewed daily, but it also allowed me to experience those thought processes so that I can write this today to tell you, if you too have felt this way, you are not alone.  PPD is incredibly common, and there is no reason to be ashamed.

Talking about how you are feeling and getting help is the single greatest gift you could give to those children, and yourself. PPD can affect 1 in 4 women, and the sooner you get help, the more quickly you will recover. You deserve to experience the joy associated with celebrating those milestones with your little one, and your little ones deserve to have a mother who will gratefully, and enthusiastically guide them through life. I have included some links at the bottom of this page for anyone who thinks they may be suffering from PPD, or if you just want to better understand it for yourself, or a loved one.

Life is hard, raising children is hard and sometimes asking for help can be hard.  You do not have to go through it alone, there is no shame in reaching out for a hand if you feel lost. I am so grateful that I did when I did. I am currently watching my daughter try with all of her might to climb up on the couch to get my cell phone so that she can accidently call various loved ones for the 6th time this week. My heart feels like it’s going to explode watching her little baby legs wiggle back and forth while she makes her noble attempts. Moments like these I am so thankful that I was strong enough to overcome those incredibly dark days, allowing me to enjoy these bright, beautiful ones.

Overview of Post-Natal/ Post Partum depression: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024789/

Signs you may be at risk: https://www.care.com/c/stories/5347/postpartum-depression-signs-youre-at-risk/

Here’s a Facebook Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/PerinatalDepressionSupportGroup

 

 

 

If Anxiety & Paranoia had a lovechild, it would be me.

I have chewed my fingernails for as long as I can remember.  I don’t mean cute little “Aw, I’m nervous, let me give my nail a little nibble.” I mean, imagine my nails were bunny rabbits and my mouth a cheetah. I annihilate them. I mean, I really destroy them. I chew and chew until they are non-existent. I do this when I get nervous, and since I am nervous virtually every second of the day, they are horrendous to look at. Why am I telling you this disgusting fact about myself? Because this is one example of many, of how my anxiety manifests itself daily.

Many people don’t know that I suffer from anxiety, except those closest to me. In fact, I take medicine to keep my crippling anxiety at bay. I don’t advertise this part of me because it is actually a very dark place for me to be. I believe the stigma attached to these types of personality disorders has caused many people to sweep their issues under the rug, not seeking the proper treatment.  This can be a very dangerous thing.

This is why I have chosen to put the ugly truth about my generalized anxiety disorder here for…well, anyone to see….

Many people close to me have a hard time understanding why I react to things the way I do. It is difficult to make someone understand something, they have never felt. If you were to have a ball thrown at your face, you would throw your hands up and most likely try to duck.  That would probably be your knee-jerk reaction to that situation.  My knee-jerk reaction to almost every situation, is to stress, worry, and imagine the worst case scenario possible.  It’s automatic, and out of my control.

After reading this you will probably think I’m nuts. I’m prepared for that. You will most likely think I am overreacting and unreasonable, that’s ok too. The truth is however, that your potential reaction to my way of thinking, is the main reason a lot of people keep quiet, and suffer silently.  I am hoping to shed some light on this subject so that anyone else who may be dealing with this, can know they are not alone, I’m right there with you, and there is help available.

This is what it is like inside my anxious mind…….

My sister asks if she can take my son, her nephew to the park–  I say no, because if she were to get into a car accident with him, and he died, I could never forgive her.

My bonus daughter asks if she can go in our backyard, 2 feet from the back door, to play on our playground by herself I say no, because if someone were to come kidnap her when I looked away, I would never be able to live with myself.

My husband wants to give our baby a banana to tryI say no because I don’t want her to choke and die, we will just stick to baby food until she’s 15.

I leave my house 45 minutes early to pick my bonus daughter up for school- because being late to places kicks my anxiety into overdrive, so to avoid that feeling, I make sure I am 30 minutes early…….everywhere I go.

My mother in law wants to take my son for a sleep overI say no because he is not used to her bed and may fall off in his sleep, breaking his neck and becoming paralyzed.

If I have a stomach painI convince myself that my appendix just burst and I currently have poison filling my insides and am going to die within the hour.

If more than 2 people are talking at onceI feel like I am a soda bottle that has been shaken, and I am on the verge of exploding.

If you invite me somewhereI will smile and excitedly say yes.  When the day comes, I wake up dreading it, because it requires me to get myself ready and have conversations with people.  I will spend the entire night absorbing other peoples energy and entertaining small talk, and by the time I get home, I am utterly exhausted.

If I leave the house feeling self conscious about my hairI will spend the entire day watching every single person I walk past, to see if they look at my hair, then when they do, I will convince myself that they are thinking about how hideous it looks today, and that I never should have left the house looking like that.

If I tell my sister to call me later, and she doesn’tI will call her.  If she doesn’t answer, I automatically assume she has been kidnapped and murdered.  I even envision my reaction when the police will call to confirm my suspicions.

If someone asks to hold my babyI will stare at them the entire time so that when they drop her, I will be prepared to catch her.

If someone I don’t recognize knocks on my doorI grab a weapon with one hand and have 911 on speed dial with the other.

If I am lying in bed and hear a noiseI envision a robber coming to kill us all. I visually locate a weapon and mentally plan my sneak attack for when he comes in the room.

This probably sounds CRAZY to you right? I know. Trust me, it feels crazy.  Who the hell would want to live like that? I don’t think anyone would.  Yet, many people do.  Some people may have it easier than me, some, probably worse.  There are so many variations of anxiety disorders, each of them equally as difficult to live with.

The excessive, relentless, unrealistic fear that at any moment, terrible things are going to happen.  Most people can enjoy a day at the beach with their children, I will spend the entire day rolling them around in sunscreen and searching the water with binoculars for sharks.

The exact cause of generalized anxiety is not fully known, but a number of factors — including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses — appear to contribute to its development. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and I’m certain that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have lost both my parents, and all but one grandparent. Part of me recognizes that a loved one can be taken away in an instant, therefore I go to extreme and illogical measures, to keep my loved ones safe.

This is the first time I have ever shared this with anyone other than those closest to me.  Reading back to myself what I have written, and seeing my thought processes in black and white has been quite eye opening. I see how unreasonable my thought process is. I see how insane it must seem to outsiders.   I have laid my deepest fears and imperfections at the feet of anyone who chooses to read this, in hopes it will make someone realize they are not alone, and help others realize that we aren’t just being “worry warts” who need to “relax” and “calm down”, trust me, if we could, we would.

I have started meditating and praying and it has helped tremendously.  The problem stems from my need to control, and in reality, nothing is in control….I cannot control the wind, the time, the flow of traffic, gravity, the weather or anyone other than myself. I need to recognize this, and let. it. go.

In the meantime, I need people to understand that we are not faking it, it is very, very real.  We need less criticism and judgement, and more love and support.  If you know someone who suffers from anxiety (and I really do mean “suffers”) don’t downplay it, don’t make them feel foolish, or crazy.  Ask how you can help and let them know you are there for them.  It is very difficult to live this way, but having a strong support system makes all the difference in the world.

 

 

I have a bonus daughter…

Happy Monday friends! I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about being a step parent, and what it means to me. I have a 6 year old bonus daughter.  I don’t like calling her a stepdaughter.  The term “step parent” has never made much sense to me.  I find that perhaps “Step-up Parent” would be a bit more fitting for most of us who do it, as that is essentially what we are doing. Stepping up and taking on an incredibly challenging (and rewarding) role. Stepping up to love, care for and help raise another’s child as their own.  Besides, “Bonus parent” sounds a lot more fun.

The Merriam-Webster definition of a “step parent” is pretty cut and dry, it reads as follows: “Someone that your mother or father marries after the marriage to or relationship with your other parent has ended.”

Nowhere in that definition does it state any duties of the step parent.  It doesn’t say “Someone who promises to love, care for, protect, help mold and shape you, and love you as if they gave birth to you themselves.”……They left that part out.  They didn’t include that because it’s not required.  All you have to do is marry someone who had a kid before meeting you, and you automatically qualify for this title.

That’s what makes a lot of Bonus Parents so special.  If you fall in love with someone, you are not required to fall in love with their child.  It is as simple as that.  Love takes time to grow and flourish. It requires a lot of work, sacrifice, and selflessness. It takes an extraordinary person to become willing to not only dedicate themselves to nurturing the love they have for their spouse, but are prepared, and often enthusiastic to take on the endeavor of building a separate and equally as meaningful relationship with his/her child.

The first night I started crushing on my husband, he had a speaking engagement, and was up on stage.  I remember thinking how handsome he was and how well he spoke.  As I was mentally deciding what color the flowers at our wedding would be and what our kids were gonna look like,  this itty bitty little 2 year old girl with a head of bright blonde hair came bouncing up to the stage yelling “Daddy!”.  He picked her up on his lap and she hugged him. My imaginary wedding plans came to a screeching halt and I thought…… “Oh, s***”

I had never dated anyone with a child before.  So when we first started seeing each other I  was unaware of how it worked. I remember excitedly turning to him one of those first nights and suggesting we take his daughter trick-or-treating.  He got very quiet and let go of my hand.  I was thinking “Oh s*** what? She can’t eat candy? They don’t celebrate Halloween? What just happened?” He turned to face me, and I could tell by his face, things were about to get real.

He explained that it was nothing personal, he just wasn’t ready for me to meet her yet (ouch).  He wanted to make sure that I was going to be a lasting part of his life, before bringing me into hers. I would be the first girl she had met since her mother, and he didn’t want to confuse her, had I not been the one.

Ok, so if we are being honest here, my very first thought was “oh hell to the no. Here I am, with a list of our future kids names (jk), and he’s not even sure I’m gonna last? Ha….Wow. But my second thought was “Wow, that is a really important, and responsible point.  It made me respect him even more.

A little while later, I finally won him over with my charm and gorgeous looks (ha), so he decided it was time for me to meet her. I remember very specifically being nervous as hell now that the time had come. I googled “How to make a 3 year old like you.” “Funny things to say to a 3 year old to make them laugh”, “What do 3 year olds eat?” Etc…..The articles had a lot of great advice, but I went with a foolproof plan.  Bring that kid a toy and bribe her into liking me.  Besides, she had just had her 3rd birthday, so it was a perfect excuse. My heart was pounding as I stood outside the door of his mothers house.  That little blonde girl was just on the other side, having no clue I existed. Drew opened the door and I followed closely behind. “Daddy!” She yelled jumping up to give him a hug.  When her feet hit the ground, I emerged from behind him….She immediately burst into tears and ran and hid…so….it went well.

I eventually coaxed her out of her hiding place with the promise of coloring with her.  She hesitantly took me to her room to get her coloring books, periodically peering over her shoulder to catch a quick glimpse of this tall strange lady following behind her.  We spent the next 3 hours coloring, making animal noises, doing horsey rides and eating snacks. She hugged me and asked when she could see me again, I looked over at Drew and he smiled and said “Whenever you want”. My heart jumped for joy as I noted that she was sad to see me go.  I nailed it!

I ended up marrying Drew, and giving Aubrey a brother and a sister. Over time we got to spend more and more time with her.  Initially we would visit with her on the weekends, working our way up to having her stay with us one night a week, then two, then three. Now, she lives with us full time. Over the course of this transition, I have faced many challenges as a bonus parent. I have experienced misplaced resentments, frustration, feelings of being underappreciated, feelings of inadequacy, and questioning whether or not I was cut out for this. To parent a child that is not your own can be confusing.  When to step in and discipline, when to remain quiet.  Wondering what rights you have as far as decision making, in regard to what is best for the child. When you throw Maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents and a couple of other children into the mix, it makes it a little trickier.

I laid in bed many nights thinking “Geez this is confusing! They say love a child as if they were your own, but then they say ‘Never forget, they already have a mother'”. They say “Don’t over-step your position, let the real parents do the disciplining”, But what exactly is my position if I’m the only there and she is swinging from the ceiling fan? They say “You are there support your spouse as they raise the child,” But what if he works a lot and when she over she spends a lot of alone time with me? Am I allowed to tell her she shouldn’t call her brother stupid? Am I allowed to make her eat broccoli  because I’m making her brother eat broccoli? Am I allowed to tell her that despite the fact that “her grandma lets her jump on her couch” that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to do it here? If I bring her to school and her teacher asks me to sign a permission slip, am I allowed to sign it? There are so many gray areas I had moments of wishing that somebody could be there with me telling me the right decisions to make. Unfortunately that is not how life works. You must live and learn.

Once the transition of her living with us full time was complete, everything improved. I no longer felt like a “weekend babysitter” (who wasn’t getting paid). I enrolled her in school myself, I filled out all the paperwork, I got her shot records, I bought her patches, I chose a teacher, and I began taking her to school in the morning and picking her up.  I became the one to ask her if she has homework after school, the one to sit and do her homework with her. The one to make her a healthy dinner, make sure she brushes her teeth. The one to wipe her nose when it runs, and reward her when she gets a good report at school.  I was finally the one that people were asking questions to. My role became clear. I was not her mother, I was not her babysitter, I was just an extra person to love her and steer her in the right direction, and help provide her with the stability she so desperately needed.

Aubrey is loved by so many people. My mother in law has been a godsend in every facet of me becoming a mom.  She has been there every step of the way, for Aubrey since birth, then with my own children. And once I started openly communicating with Aubrey’s mothers parents, everything fell right into place. I knew where I stood.  We all have her best interest in mind and they have been more than gracious and respectful of my position, and have helped me get comfortable with my role. We have a very close relationship with Aubrey’s mothers’ parents now, we have dinners there, we swim in their pool, we have spent holidays together, and they adore my children as well. We all feel as though it is important for Aubs to see there is no separation, family is family, and sometimes, it takes a village….

There is no perfect way to be the perfect Stepmom.  However if you have love in your heart, and a desire to help them grow and become the best person they can be, then you are off to a good start.  It is not easy, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.  I am so grateful to God for trusting in me to help mentor, and be an example for this little girl.  She has a heart of pure gold and has honestly brought so much joy to my life that I cannot imagine it without her. Each night when I tuck her into bed I tell her a story, then kiss her goodnight, I whisper into her ear that “I love her more than she will ever realize”.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. She was placed in my life purposefully by a power greater than myself.

I have learned a very valuable lesson about family because of her.  It is not about titles, it is not about where you came from, it is not about biology or  genes, family is about love. Everlasting, infallible, unconditional love. If you are willing to give this kind of love, then you have succeeded in fulfilling your life’s purpose. To love, be loved, and help others along the way……

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Men, don’t say I never gave you anything…

If you are a Male, you should read this. If you are a Female, you should share it with a Male. Just saying.

So, today, as I walked passed my garbage can, I looked down and admired the sheer focus and determination it must have required my husband ( as well as a few small children who shall not be named) to construct such a massive pyramid of miscellaneous garbage, without it toppling over.  It was as if the other members of my family huddled around the trash can, laughing and high-fiving while they played Jenga with Taco Bell wrappers and empty toilet paper rolls…….. I was impressed.

I was lucky enough to be the one chosen to disassemble it. I smiled the entire time thinking to myself “Man, they worked really hard on this, it’s a shame we have to take it down.”

Just kidding…..It went something like this; “Oh you gotta be friggen kidding me, this s*** again? ….GUYS!? Am I the only one with eyeballs in this household? You literally walk by this thing 34 times an hour. Is there some kind of Guinness World Record tryout going on around here that I’m not aware of? Biggest effing garbage stack in America? I’ll tell you what….I’m gonna start my own Guinness World Record tryout starting  right now.. “Most roundhouse kicks delivered to loved ones throats.” Guarantee I’ll be the world champ. Try me. I’m not cleaning this up! …………I’ll tell you that right now.” Saying that last part under my breath as I defiantly exit the kitchen with my arms crossed stomping past the room full of people watching SpongeBob who didn’t hear a word I just said……

……As I was cleaning up the garbage, I had a lot of time to think.

(And before I go any further, I would like to state that what I’m about to say is not in any way directed at my husband specifically.  He is a hardworking handsome hunk of a man with whom I am eager to spend this life and the life after this world with. It is a culmination of past relationships, current ones, and things I’ve witnessed over time. By the same token, I am not saying this applies to all women…..just like….97% of them)

I know most men will say women are complicated creatures. Let’s be real, there is some justifiable evidence behind this theory. …Take the time I told my husband I wanted ice cream for example. I expressed a burning desire for this sweet delicious treat.  My husband decided to surprise me with said ice cream out of the kindness of his heart.  I proceeded to verbally assault him for 10 minutes straight, because I am trying to get skinny and hot and he should have known better.

Man’s Brain: Wife want ice cream, must get ice cream. Why she mad I got ice cream. Me so confused.

My Brain: How on earth could this sonofa b**** have the audacity to show up in this house with ice cream.  When I said I wanted ice cream so bad I could cry, what I meant was “Man, this diet sucks, I would really love to have some ice cream, but I can’t button any of my jeans anymore so I obviously can’t eat it.”  God, what is so hard to understand about this? Does he listen to a word I say? Ever? If he really cared about me, he would support my lifestyle change.

Man Brain: Me support you, here, I bought you workout pants and protein bars.

My Brain: Woooooooooww…….okay….Ha…..so you agree, I’m f***ing fat. Cool. Super cool babe. I’m sorry I’m not *insert air quotes*  SKINNY enough for you.  You shouldn’t have gotten me pregnant if you didn’t want me to gain weight. Gah you are so ru-………

Man Brain: Malfunctioning, malfunctioning….powering dowwwwwwn……

By now you have heard the age old saying “Happy wife, happy life.” In other words,  if you want to avoid feeling as if you want to gouge your eardrums out of your head on a regular basis with sharp pencils, to avoid having to hear the constant nipping of your Chihuahua of a wife, than you should just agree with everything she says.

And while I do feel that agreeing with everything your lady says is a surefire way to create peace within the home, (Ha, OBVIOUSLY)….I don’t think this is fair to the fellas. So I’ve decided to share a few tips with you men, because I’m pretty positive that if you try at least one of these, you will have just narrowly avoided a verbal smackdown. Take my suggestions or leave em. It’s your safety that’s in question here, not mine.

*Ahem*…..

  1. If your lady spends time in the bathroom applying makeup, doing her hair or getting dressed up,  even if she’s only in there for 5 minutes, when she walks outta that bathroom-you better act like Marilyn Monroe just showed up in your living room.  You could even slow clap if you want….get crazy. Why? Because having to paint the face you were born with in order to feel presentable to the world sucks. It also requires some skill. 98% of women on this planet wish they could roll out of bed and let their hair go natural. However this is impossible.  People would be throwing change at us on the streets and offering us their leftover sandwiches out of pity. Straightening and curling individual strands of hair is tedious and ridiculous. But it’s necessary.  Therefore, if we know you are outside waiting for us to finish so we can go somewhere, the moment we step out of that bathroom we are displaying the art we have created, using our body as a canvas. You better look up from that phone and  give us a damn compliment or you will hear about it. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow. But she is saving this situation in her arsenal ,as ammo for when she feels you don’t give her enough attention.  Trust.
  2. So here’s a tip guys. Women want what they want, when they want it. If we say to you “Honey, could you please fix the ice maker, pretty please??” To be honest with you, we aren’t really asking. While it may appear as those this was posed as a question, we are kinda expecting you to put the controller down and fix it immediately. We may let it slide once or twice, gently reminding you, trying to sound as sweet as possible.  But when it’s 6 months later and I’m still getting pelted in the eye socket by wild flying ice.  We are gonna throw hands. Why? Because women desire a man that is dependable. Most men are born with a specific set of skills, such as: Hammering stuff, killing insects, doing mechanicky stuff to the car, unclogging drains, etc.  I personally, find it sexy when my man grabs a tool and fixes the s*** out of something…maybe it’s just me. My point is.  We tend to directly connect your desire to help us, with your level of love for us.  “I don’t want my baby getting a black eye every time she tries to cool down her drink with some ice, let me fix that for you beautiful” VS “Jesus woman, I told you I’d fix it when I had time, besides, I’ve seen the speed in which those ice cubes fly outta there, it’s not even that fast.  If you can maneuver your cup just right, you may even be able to catch em in midair! Aw man that would be cool” …………See what I mean?
  3. Give your lady a big hug from behind.  Out of nowhere.  She’s doing the dishes? Sneak up behind her and wrap your arms around her.  Tell her she’s beautiful. Give her a kiss on the forehead, grab her hand and hold it.  It sounds cheesy but I’m serious. Why? Because over time we get comfortable in relationships. Our woman “knows” we love her by now so we don’t have to show it as much. Skkkkkeeerrrttt. Let me stop you right there. Women always have, and always will, long to be desired. Best believe I’ll be 80 years old struttin around this house showing off my goods, whether he wants to see it or not. Let me put it to you this way. If you are in a relationship with a woman, you are the only man who is allowed to hold her hand, to kiss her, to hug her romantically from behind.  Since you are the only man allowed to do this….you better f***ing do it. Otherwise, you are robbing her of the joy that goes along with being wanted by someone, which is something I think all of us want.
  4. Here’s a quick one.  If a woman is experiencing anxiety over something that may seem insignificant to you, for example, she’s sitting on the bed crying because she has no clothes, (as you glance at the closet and note it is completely filled to the brim with tank tops and dresses). Under no circumstances are you to use words such as; overreacting, irrational, or crazy.  We are well are we are being ridiculous.  We can’t help it.  We need a hug, and for you to ask us what you can do to help.
  5. If you see her huffing and puffing around the house, overwhelmed by the amount of chores that need to be done before she can relax, get your a** off Facebook, off the couch, off your high horse, and pick up a shirt off the floor.  Think about it, for every piece of laundry you pick up, that’s one less that she has to.  Every bit helps. Seriously.  Besides, you will never catch a woman yelling at you while you’re vacuuming the carpet.  Won’t happen.  She will hold on to her resentments for fear that out of spite, you may never pick up a vacuum again.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly…………Stop pissing all over the toilet seat. I’m not even going to explain why.

 

 

 

 

This is your brain on drugs…

Mom Blog Monday! Let’s talk about drugs mannnn!

So check it out. Here is something you probably didn’t know.  The human brain doesn’t fully mature biochemically until between the ages of 24 to 26. So basically this means, up until this point, the part of your brain that handles decision making is not fully formed, (which explains many questionable choices I made during my early twenties).  Anyway, while there is no concrete evidence, there is plenty of information provided by individuals and psychologists which support the theory that relationships and personal emotional growth is vastly effected by prolonged drug use.

Why the hell am I getting all “Bill Nye the science guy” on you you ask?

Here’s why. If these theories are correct, people who use drugs for a long time, can stop maturing emotionally.  So if I started heavily using drugs at age 20 (which I certainly did) as a result, my brain would’ve stopped developing the way it’s supposed to right then and there. So while currently I may physically appear to be 31 (which, let’s be honest here, I don’t look a day over 18), mentally, I’m still in my car with the bass pumping  Akon’s “Smack That” while driving home to watch “Twilight.”

As an addict this philosophy make a s*** ton of sense.  My singular focus for many years, was getting high. My first thought upon waking was “How can I get high today?” Immediately followed by an elaborate scheme to beg, borrow and steal to get my drug.  Then came the physical aspect of going about said plan, followed by me attempting to locate a dealer who happened to be holding my desired merchandise.  Upon meeting with said dealer and collecting my drugs, I would then administer them.  By now it is night time and I am ready to lay around and attempt to watch Shark Tank while periodically nodding out, only to be awoken by my forgotten cigarette burning a hole into my thigh.

That is how a typical day in the life of Tiffany would go, for many years.  At no point did I take a break to study how to file my taxes.  I didn’t set up an online account to pay my FPL bill efficiently and on time.  I certainly didn’t take any cooking classes, or study the correct settings on a washing machine to get optimum clean.  My brain consisted of a set of railroad tracks.  Those tracks carried a train that went from stealing, to scoring, and getting high.  The train reset it’s starting position each morning, and rarely steered off course, leaving me completely and utterly clueless on how to do adult things.

What does this have to do with motherhood you may be wondering.  It has literally EVERYTHING to do with motherhood.  I got clean right after I turned 27 upon entering jail, where I spent many months learning how to make “whip-it’s out of jelly packets and coffee.  I also learned how to consume an entire meal in 7 minutes flat and how to play spades for honey buns.  No life skills there.  I then entered rehab, and began learning specifically about my addiction, which was wonderful, but up until this point I still didn’t know that you are not supposed to put butter on your toast before putting it in the toaster.

As soon as I left rehab I went to a halfway house……….2 months later, I was pregnant. There was a real life human baby person growing inside me that I would be in charge of.

I had to go from zero to adult super fast because now, not only was I in charge of learning how to become a productive member of society myself, I was responsible for raising one.  I stopped by the library, but unfortunately they were fresh out of the “How to be a cool person and not f*** up your kid” workbook.

Here’s the thing about being a Mom.  Regardless of whether or not you are able to fold a fitted sheet, balance a check book, or order school pictures on time (FML), it’s already in our DNA to nurture and love our babies.

I had an epiphany the other night while I was playing with my Talk Boy and feeding my Tamagachi.  Back in the day, when people lived in tiki huts in the woods, they were stripped down to bare necessaties. They weren’t checking the Dow Jones industrial average everyday, or shopping for f***ing  life insurance policies.  They were feeding their kids berries off the ground and pooping in bushes. Time and technological advances have now made it possible for us to be better protect and nourish our babies obviously, but the point is, they survived. (Well, most of them, I’m sure they had their fair share of lions and poisonous snakes inhabiting their neighborhoods). You get what I’m sayin.

Now I’m not saying, “Hey, it’s cool if you live under a bridge while shooting dope with your kid’s 3 feet away, as long as their eating something it’s all good.” But what I am saying is, being mentally stuck in the early 2000’s might not necessarily be a bad thing. Take this morning for example, before school I turned the disco ball on and we danced to the classic tune “Milkshake” by Kelis.  Like, they wouldn’t have even known how to avoid a flock of boys arriving to the yard if it wasn’t for me….so….you’re welcome….

It all boils down to this.  There are a few wrong ways to be a parent, but there are a few right ways too. Over the course of my life I’m certain I will experience both.  I try everyday to educate myself on how to be a better person.  Do I occasionally have to google “How long to cook chicken in a skillet”,”Why is there a crayon in my washing maching?” “How long can a car run on empty before it breaks down?””Tips to decompress after a childs temper tantrum”, “How to remove cheerios from a nasal cavity”? Hell yes.   And that’s OK.  Remaining teachable is a crucial part of being a good parent.

I’ve learned a lot about life through the course of my journey, but the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to go easy on yourself and don’t take life too seriously, as it is temporary, and fleeting. Quit focusing on being the perfect parent, stop listening to the advice of random strangers in Facebook Mom groups. Love your kids, do what feels right to you. Raise them to be kind, respectful human beings. Put the phone down and watch them dance. Run outside with them when it starts raining. Wake them up with sprinkle pancakes for no reason at all.  Have fun and cherish every moment. That’s all we are left with in the end, the moments………. Now if you will excuse me, I have a Pog tournament with the neighbor boy and I have a brand new Slammer that needs breakin in.

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I’m Tiffany, & I’m an addict.

Hey you! I plan on writing many blogs detailing the dark, filthy trainwreck my life had become once the disease of addiction took ahold of my soul, however since this is my first post in this category, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you the 411 on my specific addiction….

I have a very vivid memory of setting my stuffed animals up in a row and teaching them about turtles. I explained about their shell, the way their heads ducked inside when they were scared, and the way they either lived on land or in the water. My treasure trolls never paid attention in class, so I usually had them in detention writing they were “sorry” over and over for interrupting my class. I had a passion for teaching and knew that when I grew up I was going to be the greatest teacher this town had ever known.

My dream, was to become a teacher, and at NO point, upon being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up did I EVER respond: A lying, thieving drug addict.

I didn’t want to be that. I don’t think anyone does, so HOW does this happen over and over to countless friends and loved ones? How do people who were straight ‘A’ students, or like myself, Captain of the High School cheerleading squad, ultimately end up in a trap house shaking uncontrollably while the dope man takes his time gathering the drugs I’ve just purchased with money I’ve just stolen out of my sisters wallet after she invited me over to hang out?

How come the girl next to me can take a pill for the first time, and never have the desire to try another, but when I take a pill, I am immediately thinking about the next time I can try one again.

Apparently there is something in our brains called a “reward system“. Evidently, back in the day, this came in handy when people were new to the earth. When they ate food, or had sex, the dopamine in their “reward system” spiked, that caused feelings of wanting to do these things again. I believe the “reward system” was put in our brains to continue procreation and encourage the human race to feed themselves on a consistent basis. After all if people were repulsed by sex, no one would have done it and humans would eventually fizzle out right?? This is the same reason that when you see a big a** delicious piece of chocolatey cake you get friggin excited, and when you eat that bad boy your “reward system” is like HELL to the YES….

The thing about our “reward system” is, it also releases dopamine when drugs travel through it, record levels of dopamine in fact. For someone like myself, when my “reward system” starts pumping that dopamine out, I never want it to stop.

Imagine you go to get a professional massage. You are on the table, waiting for the massuese to begin rubbing the warm oil between her hands. You know that at any moment, she is going to place her gifted hands onto your tired, achy, sore muscles and gently knead the stress you have been carrying away until you are completely relaxed. You are waiting with anticipation for her to begin….THAT feeling, is what it was like when I first started using…

The anticipation of knowing that the minute I took that pill, my days of stress and worry would disappear and I would become completely relaxed. If you could get a professional massage everyday, you probably would. I wanted that feeling everyday. I had a choice between feeling bored, annoyed, anxious and stressed, or feeling happy, relaxed, careless and free. Once I realized I could feel that way all the time, I never wanted to stop.

Eventually my “reward system” responded by lowering the amount of dopamine it produced, the only way I could feel that wonderful feeling I initially experienced was to do more than usual. My body built a tolerance. So I doubled the amount of pills I did to show my body who was boss…..

I didn’t know about withdrawl when I first began taking these magical pills. I was unaware of the consequences at that time, hence, my continued use. One night I was lying in bed and I got a feeling similar to that of growing pains. Remember when you were little and your muscles and bones were growing and that shit hurt?! That’s how I felt. I called my best friend and she told me it was most likely because I hadn’t taken a pill that day, and if I took one, she is sure I’d be fine. So I did. And she was right.

That was the night….. That night I stopped using because I wanted to, and started using because I HAD to.  I found, that when I stopped taking a pill for an extended period of time, my body revolted.

Imagine laying in bed, and all of a sudden it felt as though your bones were breaking out of your skin. Your muscles were twisting in on themselves as your body became drenched with perspiration. Despite feeling as though you were sitting in an oven, your body was prickled with goosebumps. Your nose begins running and your eyes watering. You clench up into the tightest ball you can make and begin rocking to help alleviate the pain, to no avail. You attempt to sleep, in hopes of time passing without you being conscious, but the severe physical pain your body is in doesn’t allow it. You have diarrhea and vomit leaving your body at the same time, but you dread having to get out from under the covers to use the restroom because the cold air feels as though someone is repeatedly stabbing you with thousands of microscopic needles all over every single inch of your body. You are forced to be awake every second and feel every ounce of this torture. Seconds seem like centuries…….and this feeling will last for weeks, even months, until the drugs are completely out of your system…

Or. …….You can feel better within seconds…..all you have to do ….is take one pill and all that pain and anguish instantly……disappears………

It’s as if you are underwater, the remaining air you had in your lungs just dissipated, so you begin hiccupping on whatever miniscule traces of oxygen you have left. The surface of the water is a mere inches from your face, all you have to do is stand up and you can inhale fresh, clean air into your empty tired lungs….

That is how it feels during withdrawl…..the pills, in essence, are my water surface….

I know it was my choice to begin taking the pills. I know it was ignorant of me to not fully research the consequences of my actions…but once I began, it became virtually, impossible….to stop….

If you know someone who is suffering from addiction and you are thinking to yourself “why the f*** don’t they just stop?” ….Try walking up to someone on an oxygen tank and saying to them “hey, why don’t you just turn that damn thing off?”….

That’s how it feels to be an addict. If an addict has a job, a family, a home, a vehicle and they have the choice of going through weeks and months of physical and mental agony, or taking just one more pill and postponing the pain for another day.  They will most likely choose the pill, every time.

Don’t be judgemental, be empathetic. Don’t be hateful, be emotionally supportive. Don’t lose hope for them, pray for them, and don’t write them off as a lost cause, because change is always possible. You cannot talk a drug addict into getting clean. They must experience enough pain, desperation and heartbreak to decide to fight with all their might to beat it. No one on this earth, including children and judges, can make an addict become willing to stop if the journey of getting clean seems harder than continuing on the dark path of addiction. This is why many of us have to hit rock bottom in order to stop. If things haven’t gotten bad enough, why would we? It’s torture.

If you are a parent,spouse or child of an addict,….you have to know this isn’t your fault. Its ours, and theres nothing you could have done differently aside from chaining us up in a closet, (and even then we would most likely eat paint chips off the wall…jk…kinda). Don’t give us money, give us love and support and please believe me when I tell you this……that this is ALL you can do.  There are no “right” words to say to us..no “right” things to do or not to do…love us from a distance if you must but please, don’t stop loving us.

I am grateful that no one wrote me off as a lost cause…It was the love and emotional support of my family that kept the hope in my heart alive as I fought the demons permanently residing in my head, that so desperately attempted to take my life from me.

I will never be able to be a school teacher (damn felonies) , but when I got clean I made a promise to God that I would take every opportunity I was given to teach others about how recovery and the program worked for me, and that it can for them too…. My life isn’t where I expected it to be, but I believe in my heart of hearts, that its exactly where it was always meant to be…..

 

 

 

 

Fundraisers & Ghost Pants

mondsay

 

Happy Monday Friends!!!

I think Monday is gonna be my blog day.  It’s perfect because Mondays usually consist of me sitting around, staring at my messy house, repeatedly saying, “Alright Tiff, refresh Facebook ONE more time, then if there’s nothing new, get up and clean”.  Before I know it, my husbands’ walking in the door from work wondering WTF I’ve been doing all day. So if I pump one of these bad boys out, I can say I accomplished something.

Anyway, if you follow my YouTube Channel (which you don’t, because I have zero subscribers, so, thanks for that) then you will see that I already covered some of this on my last video. But the video is 8 mins 30 seconds, so if you don’t have 10 mins to spend watching me be weird on camera, I’ll recap.

You know how in high school, someone would invite you to a party, and you knew that the cooler, more mature kids would be there.  So you’d get dressed and stand in the mirror, giving yourself a pep talk like, “alright, this is it.  We are going, we’re doing this.  We gotta impress these people. Play it cool, just blend in…..don’t be weird.”

This is exactly how I feel……every time I walk to pick Aubrey up from her class after school.

It starts on the Sidewalk of Shame. I refer to it as the Sidewalk of Shame, because this sidewalk runs parallel to Webber Street.  Between the hours of 2:45-3:15, a parade of parents can be seen traveling by foot to pick up their offspring.  Therefore, if your destination takes you down said street at said time, you have a front row seat to a runway show of Moms and Dads modeling the latest trends in the parent fashion world.

This really sucks for me, seeing as how my outfit of choice usually consists of the same shorts I wore yesterday, a hideous bun thrown hurriedly atop my makeupless head, and my husbands work shirts which are usually covered in paint and other miscellaneous man dirt.

Last week, the universe aligned and placed my path, directly behind them. We will call them Becki, Lexi & Skipper…

mom-stroller

They are a trio of moms/milfs/supermodels, who really have their s*** together. I initially observed their hair. Becki had fresh highlights, Lexi had waist length straight red hair (think Jessica Rabbit) and Skipper had gorgeous flowy curls.

They each had tank tops on that displayed their beautifully tan, toned arms. Becky had a pair of cut off short shorts ( a little too much leg in my opinion…..could be the jealousy talking I’m not sure ). Lexi had a cute skirt with crazy patterns on it that flowed in the wind, doing its own beautiful dance around her perfectly petite body. But SKIPPER, Skippers pants really made my blood boil, and here’s why…..

Skipper had on a pair of leggings (cool) I’m assuming, judging by the 342 Facebook groups I’ve been invited to that these must be of the Lula Roe variety (they are all the rage and I’m pretty sure they feel like buttah, a sensation I will never experience because I’m broke), they had little ghosts on em, just, ghosts floating up and down her leg.  Here’s the thing…..

I specifically recall, in 7th grade, I made the bold attempt to wear spandex pants with ghosts on em and everyone called me a loser weirdo.  Skipper slips em on, and suddenly she has grown women chasing her down the street throwing money at her shouting something about a unicorn and trying to buy the pants right off her f***ing legs.

Life doesn’t make sense anymore.

Anyway, Lexi is pushing this $29329 stroller down the street, her perfectly clean, well dressed child licking an organic, soy free, gluten free lollipop waving to strangers, meanwhile I’m hobbling behind her with my umbrella stroller, trying to keep it on the sidewalk because the wheel is broken so it shakes uncontrollably. My baby still in her pajamas from the night before, because I didn’t have time to put a cute outfit on her for our one, singular outing of the day.Her tiny hand grasping a leaf I picked up off the ground to keep her occupied during her bumpy journey.

They are talking and laughing about how splendid it was to see the look on their kids faces as they brought all the cookie dough from the fundraiser back to the customers in the neighborhood.

My heart dropped upon hearing their conversation.

I remember the selling of the items (thanks to her awesome grandma who got some of her friends to buy stuff), I remember turning in the forms and money. I do not however remember gleefully passing out the goods to their rightful owners.

This is because we didn’t.  We didn’t do that. Nope, we sure didn’t.

Some idiot forgot to pick that s*** up. Now, I’m not gonna name names here, but let’s just say…..ok no, ya it was me. I didn’t, I didn’t pick it up…..

Now that I was thinking about it, I did remember there was a pickup date, I also remember a line at the bottom saying “any items not picked up will be considered a donation.”

Ha…haha…….hahahahahahha……….*laughter turns to tears of sadness…

I began internally panicking. You had ONE job Tiffany. This was your first opportunity to step up and be a kicka** mom. Now you gotta go friggin door to door and hand over pennies and nickels from your change jar to people expecting delicious cookie dough.

I started thinking about how I was gonna tell Aubrey, I imagined it going something like this: “Aubrey! Guess what honey! The uh, school called, and, ha, this is gonna sound crazy but, I GUESS mice got into the cookie dough box and…you’ll never believe this but, they ate ALL the cookie dough! But this is good news, because we get to go on a treasure hunt around the house to gather all the change we can find! Yeah, and then we get to hand it to the neighbors yell “Sorry!” and run as fast as we can back home it will be so fun!”

When she got into the car I asked if she had any homework. She said yes and mentioned how it was really important that we return her library book the following day, seeing as how we had forgotten to bring it with us today.

I took this opportunity to lecture her about the importance of being responsible.

I decided maybe this wasn’t the time to have the cookie dough talk with her….

The next day I marched into the school.  I had been up all night preparing my “I’m not f***ing buying 18 houses worth of cookie dough” speech. The woman at the front desk seemed really sweet, so I decided to change my approach to the innocent, doe-eyed, disheveled ignorantly busy mom.  I am pretty sure I even cried a little, for dramatic effect. I really had to sell this to her, because the last thing I need is a mugshot in the Gotcha with a charge of grand larceny, cookie dough theft.

I explained my predicament through nervous laughter and a look of apparent disappointment plastered on my face. I finally finished verbally spewing pitiful excuses in her general direction and waited in suspenseful anticipation for her reply.

“You still have 3 weeks……So…”

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When I feel embarrassed I get really akward. I get loud and over explain things. So I started laughing at the top of my lungs and yelling about how foolish I felt and how grateful I was for her and how beautiful she was then I left.

So all is well, everything is cool. So, now I just need to figure out how to explain the missing cookie dough from Mrs. Millers box when we go to drop it off.

cookie-dough

It wasn’t me, at midnight, watching the Walking Dead and binge snacking.

Friggin mice.

 

 

 

 

The Next Time…….

So, here’s a random fact about me. I smile at every single person I make eye contact with, everywhere I go. Sometimes, I smile at them like a creep UNTIL they make eye contact with me. A lot of time this results in women pulling their children closer and picking up the pace of their step while nervously glancing back over their shoulders at me… However, I feel like it’s important. I feel like this world has become SO accustomed to having tunnel vision, walking in a straight, deliberate line, focused only on what they are doing now, and sometimes what they are doing next at the same time.

We forget that the whole purpose of life, whether you believe it or not, is to love, and be good to those around you.  We become laser focused on getting from point A to point B, on working our a***es off so that we can afford to keep lights on, focused on saying the right things, being in the right places, at the right times, that we forget to STOP. Look around. Take a BIG deep breath of fresh air and be in the moment. We forget that we only have ONE shot at life, there are no do-overs…We forget to relax, be still, be present, and we forget, that it’s nice to acknowledge, and smile at the fellow human beings hustling and bustling alongside us on this planet.

Which brings me to another random fact about myself….

I am constantly trying to improve. I have the brain of an addict, which means my thought process takes a zig zaggy course, in comparison to most.  Therefore it is imperative that I remain diligent in self-awareness.

So I have a little trick I use while going about my day and I’d like to share it with you, because I whole heartedly believe that if you try it, it just may mean the difference between you having a good day, and a bad day……You have to use your imagination and be open minded, but if you take the time to do it, it could potentially change EVERYTHING.

The next time someone is driving slow in front of you, instead of allowing yourself to begin filling with rage, instead of becoming shaky, and screaming inside your car, releasing toxic energy into the universe, take a breath and think about the person driving that car.

What if…..hear me out, what IF, they are in town for their fathers funeral, they have their Gps on and it’s taking them in the wrong direction.  Their heart is shattered into a million pieces and now they are lost, in a strange town. They have slowed their pace in an attempt to locate the correct street.  By happenstance, you are the car traveling behind them.  You can either ride their a**, be a jerkface and add to the already overwhelming anxiety they are feeling, or you can just be f***ing cool and let it go.

You have a choice.

The next time you see a homeless guy on the side of the road.  Observe his clothes, they are probably torn, with signs of extended wear.  Maybe he has shoes on, maybe he’s barefoot. Witness his face, leathery and dark, from years of having no shelter, no walls to protect him, no roof to shield him from the harsh rays of the sun. His hair, probably disheveled and unkempt, most likely hasn’t felt the sensation of hot, soapy water  flowing through it, cascading down his skin, washing away the filth of a long day, in longer than you can imagine.  Most will scoff at his presence from the comfort of their air conditioned vehicle. Most will say something along the lines of “Get a f***ing job you bum.  It’s your own fault”…..While it may seem obvious to us that an income may improve his situation, there are circumstances surrounding his life which we have no knowledge of.

Instead of mocking, belittling and judging this person, imagine them as a child.  Imagine him running alongside his dog, tossing a stick off into the distance while gleefully giggling, his face to the sky, not knowing that the beautiful rays of sunshine illuminating this glorious day for him, will one day beat down on his face until it’s virtually unrecognizable to those who know him. Imagine him in high school, leaned casually up against a set of metal lockers, smiling and conversing with his love interest about the upcoming basketball game while his heart pounds to the beat of teenage love..  Maybe he went on to join the service, risking his life for our country, only to come home broken inside.  Unsure of how to cope with the ghastly images forever imprinted into his fragile mind, he turns to alcohol and it takes ahold of him…. and never lets it go.

Once you have imagined all this. Look at him again. Look at him with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Be kind. Wave to him. Acknowledge him.  Say a prayer for him. But whatever you do, don’t be hateful…

The next time someone pulls out in front of you causing you to lean on the brakes to avoid colliding with the back of their car, instead of exclaiming “Sonofab*** ! Learn how to drive a**hole!”… just chalk it up as a mistake, and let it go. Don’t allow one moment in time to rob you of your peace of mind.  I’m certain you yourself have pulled out in front of others, only to find them accelerating in an attempt to make you feel pressured to speed up…let it go.

The next time a server brings you your meal, and it’s not exactly what you had in mind, instead of making her feel like she just murdered a baby kitten in the middle of a daycare center….politely ask for a replacement and assure her that she is wonderful and mistakes happen.

The next time you want to roll your eyes at the man in front of you for taking forever to purchase his cigarettes with dimes and nickels, be grateful that you have a wallet containing dollar bills and do not have to deal with the shame associated with having to hold up a line while a disdainful cashier meticulously counts out 5 dollars worth of your change.

The next time you are at the grocery store and there is a woman behind you and your cart full of overflowing groceries in line, and she is merely holding eggs and milk, request she takes your place in line. Why? Because its a cool thing to do and 3 extra minutes won’t kill you.

The next time someone steals your parking spot, park a few spaces down, get a little  fresh air and exercise. Be grateful that you have working legs to walk you up to the store.

The next time you wake up in the morning, cursing out at the sky because you don’t want to work today and wish you could just stay home and do nothing, remember there are people who would LOVE to be able to work and afford to have things. They instead live on the side of a street, with leathery skin, tattered clothing and no shoes, getting ridiculed day in, and day out…..

Change your perspective..

Be aware of your surroundings…

Pick your battles…

Be kind…

Be gracious…

Be cool….

And the next time you want to be an a**hole……don’t.

heart-shaped-world

 

 

 

I almost messed up, BAD.

This is my first ever blog post! Super exciting stuff.  This sight suggested my first blog be about why I decided to start blogging. Which is a great idea, but, no.  Mainly because there isn’t any cool story behind it. I was sitting in my living room and thought “Hey, I should blog!”. The end.

Having said that, I have decided to take this opportunity to tell you a true story.  For no reason other than I believe it needs to be told, as a warning, to those who may be as naive as myself.

There I was, driving down the road after dropping my beautiful bonus daughter off for her first day of kindergarten.  It had been a wild morning up to that point.  Getting 3 little people ready and out the door, two of which are incapable of dressing themselves or saying words, had proved to be a daunting task.

I was cruising down the road, a bundle of nerves, wondering if Aubrey was terrified, if she was uncomfortable, if kindergarten would be too much for her little body and mind to handle.  I was contemplating turning the vehicle around right then and there to go get her and say screw school, bring her home, burn her school uniforms so that I may begin homeschooling her in the safety of my living room….that was when I saw her. There she was.  We will call her Edna.

Edna, was a crossing guard.  But not just any crossing guard.  She was different. As my truck slowly crept up to the red light at the corner of her stationed post, I realized she was taking the time to wave to every single person, in every single car.  It’s 7 in the morning, and this lady is acting like she is on a float in the Thanksgiving day parade.

I noticed every so often as a car passed, she would give a double thumbs up.  I quickly concluded that the reason she did this, is because the occupants of the passing vehicle must have waved back.  All the anxiety I had been experiencing was quickly replaced with excitement as I realized I, too, could be the recipient of an early morning thumbs up.

When the light turned, I hit the gas and began to drive in her direction. My heart began pounding, THIS WAS IT! Our eyes met, as if time had slowed down I watched her hands begin to wave.  I was overly excited and began rapidly waving before she even had an opportunity to be the first waver.  But it didn’t matter, she twisted her hands into the thumbs up position and shook them at me.

Call me childish, call me a loser, but THIS made my day.  This lady is happy as a pig in s**t to be standing on the side of the road, in the blazing heat, waving her hands back and forth for hours, so WTF to I have to be unhappy about.

I saw her every day for a week.  Edna and I had formed a long distance bond.  I wanted to find a way to thank her for brightening my mornings.  Here’s where I almost f***ed up.

The next day I decided I was going to go to my local gas station and pick her up a flower and give her a thank you card.  Just a simple, “Thank you for being you” gift.  I looked up the phone number and called said gas station. “O*** Fuels,this Mishak, how can I help you?”. I proceeded to ask if they had flowers there.  He said “We have Forever Love roses?”. Ok, I thought to myself, this sounds a little too romantic for a new blossoming friendship, but I was on a time limit. “Great, thank you!” I replied.

I loaded the kids up and headed to get Ednas’ gift.  I walked into the store with my children in tow and as I approached the counter my eyes began shifting left to right in an attempt to visually locate the flowers. When I couldn’t spot them I leaned in to the cashier (while still looking all around for them) and said “Hey, uh, I umm…called about the Forever Love Rose?”, Still a bit perplexed about where they were hiding these roses.  The cashier leaned back a bit said “Ahhhh, yesss” and gave me a little wink.  Which was super creepy.

Anyway, he went over to the swisher sweets and blunt wrap section (Huh) reached behind a display of grape flavored blunts and pulled out a small box with a lid (weird).

He set it on the counter in front of me and said ” Here ya go, there are only two left…”. I looked down and was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was on a hidden camera show. Because life suddenly didn’t make sense. There was a box, with tubes sticking out.  In each of these tubes was a rose.  I pulled a tube out, and carefully examined it. The “rose” was literally 1/4 inch long and was made of felt. Like it was microscopic.  My first thought was “Ok, how the f*** are they almost sold out of these cheap ass roses that were clearly designed for ants to give one an other on valentines day”. And my second though was “Hmmm, it might be kind of cute because the rose tube would fit perfectly into the card I had gotten her, and I was in a huge rush so I said “Ok, whatever lets do it.  $4.99 is a little steep for a piece of fabric claiming to be a rose that I need a magnifying glass to even enjoy but, I know you just work here and don’t make up the prices”.

It was then he got a strange look on his face. I was trying to read him. I was listening to the deafening silence for clues as to wtf he was looking at me like that for and what I was missing.  It was as though he realized the children hovering around my ankles for the first time. He looked at them, looked at the gift I was about to purchase, then looked at me. “Why are you buying this?” He asked. At this point I wanted to roundhouse kick him in the throat. This guy is gonna charge me my life savings for a piece of s**t tube with a piece of s**t flower, then have the audacity to question me???

“It’s a gift”

“for who?”

“A crossing guard ”

“Who?”

“A really sweet little old lady who works at my daughters school, I wanted to get her a gift for being so great at her job? I really have to go though,so can we wrap this up here please?”

A look of sudden understanding swept across his face then immediately turned to fear. He literally grabbed the flower tube OUT OF MY HAND, shoved it back into the box, turned around, placed it back into its’ original resting place, then circled back around, placed his hands on the counter and smiled at me. I smiled back, laughed a little and began fixing my hair because I knew at any moment Ashton Kutcher was going to jump out and yell “YO! You got punked!”

Mishak told me quite abruptly “Those are not for sale”…

Dude, I rolled my eyes more confused than I had ever been in the history of my existence and exited the store with my children.

I was fuming, this a**hole ruined my suprise present plan and I wanted answers damnit. I dropped Aubrey off, drove past Edna and gave her a defeated wave, knowing I had missed the opportunity to make her day.

I got home and decided to google Forever Rose.  Because there was something very strange about my encounter that morning and I needed answers. After one minute of googling, everything fell into place. Mishaks behavior, the words that were never spoken between us. The twilight zone episode I was trapped in finally made sense. When I realized what happened, I wanted to go back and give Mishak a hug….. I was LITERALLY 10 minutes away, from giving sweet little Edna…..

A crackpipe…….

A f****ing CRACKPIPE dude. I’ve done alot of drugs in my day, but I’ve never done crack. So I had no clue that the object I was holding in my hands was to be filled with brillo pads and smoked in a back alley somewhere.

I was about to walk up to Edna and be like ” Hey Edna, here’s a crackpipe, thanks for being you!”

Like, WHAT?! I came into the store with 3 children, granted most mornings I look like an extra from The Walking Dead season 6 but for CHRISTS sake dude.

I’m glad Mishak did what he did. What if Edna didn’t know what it was either??? What if she strolls into the crossing guard lounge where all her crossing guard friends are located, sitting around eating their lunchs, minding their own business and Edna slaps down a crackpipe in the middle of the table and says ” Look what I got today ladies!”

What if they all exclaim how cute and simple it is and now they all want one and they go get one and every crossing guard in this town is walking around with crackpipes in their pockets and its ALL MY FAULT.

They all get arrested, right, now theres no crossing guards left in the town, so I feel obligated to pick up the slack. I recruit a bunch of my friends to help me man the corners, the only trouble is, we dont know what we are doing.  So cars are crashing, kids a running for their lives screaming, diving for safety, I’m in the middle of the road screaming “I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE TURNED AROUND THAT DAY, PICKED AUBREY UP, BURNED HER SCHOOL UNIFORMS AND HOMESCHOOLED HER IN MY LIVING ROOM!!!!!!!”.

Anyway, we ended up getting her a card.  I thought it would be really cute if Aubrey was the one to give it to her.  I had Aubrey get out of the truck and I watched her gleefully skip to Edna, filled with pride as she knew she was about to make someones day.  It was then that Aubrey tripped over a branch that had been jutting out of the ground, I watched her face turn from happiness to terror as she faceplanted into the ground. Edna ran over to her than began visually searching all around for the piece of s*** parent in charge of this kid.  I thought about slinking down into the seat so she couldn’t see me but decided to do the right thing and go peel Aubrey off of the ground. She dusted herself off, handed Edna the card and limped back to the truck. I explained to Edna that we wanted to thank her for making our mornings so much brighter, and that we thought it would be sweet if Aubrey had been the one to deliver the card. I thought Edna look at the card, she thanked me, and as I was walking away she yelled “Mam?!”, my heart skipped a beat, she realized what a nice gesture it was..” “Yes? ” I  smiled.

“You really shouldn’t let yo kids run out by the road all willy nilly, what if she woulda fell into traffic? You probably woulda felt real bad if she got slammed by a car. Ya gotta be more careful out here.”…She turned back around and began smiling and waving to cars…

I felt like s***. I am a crappy mom. I shoulda never sent Aubrey to her imminent death.

I learned a very valuable lesson during this experience.

F*** Edna.

loveroses2

 

 

 

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