Mommy Madness

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I’ve never shot a handgun before. This year, my husband bought one with his Christmas money. He brought it home last night and was eager to go out and shoot some cans with it. We live outside of town, so he headed out to the backyard.

I’ve always loved a good adventure, so when he offered to teach me to shoot it, I agreed. I shot probably five times just to try it. When we returned to the house, both of us realized that might not have been the best idea.

See, I’m pregnant. Almost 24 weeks along. We just found out it’s a boy.

Now, I inwardly shake my head at parents who follow their kids across the playground like they’re made of porcelain. Just let them be kids. And kids sometimes skin their knees. You can’t always be there to protect them, so teach them how to handle life’s bumps and bruises. Easy, right?

Not so easy when it’s your kid. I went into protective mother mode (i.e. high alert) and did research online to find–unsurprisingly–mixed opinions about the safety of shooting a gun while pregnant. Of course, the general consensus was to avoid it as a precaution since we still don’t know about all of the effects it may have on the fetus. Generally, the risk can come from lead exposure and loud noise on developing ears.

Just like that, I became the overprotective mother on the playground. Basically, my whole system went haywire with worry. From five shots in a matter of mere minutes.

I washed the clothes we were wearing, including the gloves I had on. Wearing the gloves had been a lucky fluke. I put them on because it was cold, but they may have protected me from some of the lead exposure. At least that’s how I’m validating it to myself.

I even soaked in Epsom salts the next day. My midwife has cleared me for Epsom soaks as long as I don’t let the water get too hot. And as an extra precaution, I soak for 15 minutes or less using a timer to be sure. It may not have done anything but ease my mind, but in that moment, that’s what I needed.

I have vowed not to target practice again until after the baby comes.

Now, logically, I know this probably wasn’t the best decision, but it happened once and only for a short amount of time. Most of the research cites high levels of lead exposure and continuous loud noise to be the main culprits for safety or developmental issues. I seriously doubt this one time will be detrimental to the baby in the long run. It was stupid and I shouldn’t have been so hasty, but I can’t go back and change it now.

So I guess this is my first real dose of parenthood. All parents make mistakes when raising kids. And our critical society is usually quick to point it out and lay on the guilt trip. But nobody’s perfect.

I didn’t have to admit my mistake to anyone. And I know I could receive backlash about it. It was an early lesson. For one, I need to stop being so hard on myself. I believe good parents do the best they can with what they know and what they have in life. They aren’t perfect, but they are trying to do the best thing for their kids. Even if someone else doesn’t think it’s the best thing. There are too many opinions out there. You’ve just got to trust yourself and your instincts and do what you believe is right.

Secondly, it’s easy to judge when you’re not the one in the hot seat. We should all learn to stop being so critical of how someone else is living their life. And on the other end of that, we also must learn to work through and past the criticism we may receive for our decisions and our mistakes. Even if that means powering through it while covering our ears.

So here’s to starting out 2017 with a dose of forgiveness towards ourselves and giving other people permission to live their lives and make their own decisions without our judgment. After all, we’ve all got enough of our own lives to live without dictating someone else’s.

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year everyone! Be good and gracious to yourselves!

 

 

Photo credit: AlicePopkorn via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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The Luckiest Day of My Life

Photo credit: kaibara87 / iWoman / CC BY

Do you ever wonder why the person who expects the worst always seems to get the worst? It’s that whole “just my luck” business. When people say, “That’s just my luck,” they are implying that they never have good luck. Most of the time that’s just an exaggeration, but some actually believe that they don’t get any breaks in life.

It’s strange how the world works sometimes. I’m beginning to realize that my attitude needs some adjusting. I’ve been too busy searching out the worse scenario to see the good things happening around me. When you’re just waiting for the next bad thing to happen, it tends to fill you with unnecessary fear. And fear can ruin your day over and over again unless you learn to let go of it.

So instead of always speeding towards a stoplight in anticipation of it flicking to yellow or red, I need to sit back and just accept whatever may come. It’s not going to kill me to wait for a red light and if I get green, that’s a nice bonus to my day.

Maybe if I relax and let the dice fall as they may, the circumstances might fall in my favor. Yesterday, I decided to test that theory. I got a little angry at something that happened at work. Instead of stewing about it, I just let myself feel it and found something else to do to release that anger. Sure enough, it started to diminish. Instead of expecting my day to get worse, I just dealt with what I had been given and moved past it. And it kept me from ruining my own day.

Then, on my drive home, I didn’t rush or get uptight about traffic. I just leaned back in my seat and tried to remember to relax. Usually, when I’m rushed and in a hurry, I hit red lights at every intersection. But today, in my relaxed state, I was met by more green lights than red. And I didn’t get upset by the red ones. It made my mental state so much better when I walked in the door to greet my husband.

Did the fates align and produce good circumstances because of my attitude change? No. I’m sure I don’t hit as many red lights as I think I do. I just make mental notes of the red lights instead of the green ones. And in doing that, I choose to make myself miserable. But not anymore. Now, I want to choose to be joyful and full of hope. I want to remember the good stuff.

We have much more control over our lives than we often choose to believe. We may not be able to wield our circumstances to our will, but we can choose how we react. There’s something to be said about taking things as they come and making the best of the circumstances we’re given. It’s easy to focus on what we lack instead of seeing what we have. We have to choose the right kind of focus.

Too many times, I’ve made myself the victim instead of empowering myself to change with the circumstances and to accept what may come. If you believe yourself a loser, you subconsciously set yourself up to do things that make you a loser. I am my own worst enemy. *Cue the Lit music*

New Year’s Day is coming up, so it’s the prime time for some self-evaluation. I’m tired of playing the victim. I’m better than that. I will accept my circumstances and focus on the good things that come despite the bad I’ll also encounter. I’m not going to call this a resolution, because you condemn it by giving it that name. (How many New Year’s resolutions are broken year after year?) This is a change I’m choosing to enact.

There’s some truth to making your own luck. You may not be able to make yourself win the lottery, but you can make yourself feel like the luckiest person you know. It’s all perspective, after all.

 

Photo credit: kaibara87 / iWoman / CC BY