Announcing The Warrior Mom Life Facebook Page! Be sure to check it out today. It will be a place to share your stories with others and keep up on the latest info, articles, links and blog posts here at My Warrior Mom Life. Click on the LIKE button and watch us grow! And don't forget to tell your friends about us!
I've been asked, "What exactly is a Warrior Mom?" Well, it can mean many things, but in this case it is a mom or parent who never gives up. A person who is a survivor and it battling something out of their control. After all, everybody's got something! And if you have a teenager in your life, you know exactly what I'm talking about!
On our Facebook page, please feel free to share your tips on maintaining self-care, keeping a positive perspective and how to have a sense of humor even when your are up to your neck in shall I say, "stuff"! The biggest take away for me is to know that you are not alone! And that people around you do care! Let them in and you will be amazed at the support that comes your way.
Mixed in with all the good are those that want to give you "advise" on what you should do about this problem or that. Take it with a grain of salt. Thank them and move on. Or listen and take just what you want. Trust your own gut! Everybody's story is slightly different. And it's important to not compare. Just like many advertisements say, "your results can vary". Keeping the negative at bay is not easy, but you can do it!
And of course, it is advisable to just UNPLUG when you can. We all need some peace and quiet. Take a walk, go for a swim (as I will when I'm done writing this post!), read a book, call a long-time friend, weed the garden, play some rock and roll music or take a nap! Do something for yourself! It's just like the flight attendants say when you are about to take off "In the case of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first, then take care of those around you!" If you do this, you can be a Warrior Mom (or Dad or Grandparent or Person) too!
Wishing you a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!
Be sure to unplug!
Do you remember being 13? Did you look forward to becoming a teenager? Was it a good year for you? I can barely remember it myself, other than playing sports and becoming interested in photography. However, I do very vividly remember the summer my son turned 13, just before entering 7th grade. That year turned out to be doozy and "the wheels on the bus began to wobble", as they say.
The public middle school warned us parents that our kid's friend groups may change and that their interests may change as well, but that didn't prepare us for what actually happened in our house. Maybe other signs were showing up too, but one particular moment stands our clearly. It was Super Bowl Sunday and of course we were getting ready to watch the game with some friends. But not our son, he hates football. He was going to meet up with some friends and left on his skateboard. Soon after, I went into his bedroom for some random reason and was shocked at what I found. It was a bag of marijuana on the floor. I opened it and sniffed. Full disclosure, I never smoked pot, but had some brothers who did, and I immediately felt let down. "Really?" Oddly enough, those brothers have kids that are clean cut, so why did I have to deal with this? It was a pretty big bag of weed. This can't really be happening is what I thought to myself.
I was quite shaken up but didn't want to share this info with our guests. I hid the bag in my sock drawer. I decided NOT to let my son know what I found. After all, he wouldn't dare ask me if I knew where he lost his "weed"! I began to open my eyes and see what other signs and evidence was lying around. I found lighters, wrapping papers, open packaging from eBay orders with suspicious return addresses like stoner.com. It was becoming quite clear that his illegal pot activity was growing.
I was called by the school one day and was told that my son's name was being mentioned for a possible drug deal that was going down outside the local Starbucks. I intervened and questioned his friends, who all looked scared to death. But not my son. He just blankly denied it. More evidence would show up and I began searching his room when he left for school. It felt awful, but my detective work became a regular duty of mine. I'd find something, I'd dispose of it. He became more clever, I had to dig deeper. This silent game went on for the rest of the school year.
I brought up the subject of drug use with him and the research that showed the damage it had on the teenage brain and yet, there was more denial. Hold off for as long as possible is the advice from professionals, but Mr. Know-it-all didn't think it applied to him. I have since learned that his use was about twice a month in 7th grade, twice a week in 8th grade and every day in 9th. Who says it's not habit forming? My son had a problem and we as a family were suffering. To top it off, his phone use was getting out of control and he stopped putting it on the family charger at night. He held onto it 24/7 and simply became defiant.
He also had trouble in school in part due to learning issues that were finally diagnosed as ADHD and so meds were prescribed. His mood became sullen and his communication was distant. We sought help from professionals but they didn't get very far with him. So we continued to seek help for ourselves. I noticed tiny spots of blood on his bed sheets. Those were signs of "cutting" and he hid it by wearing long sleeves all the time, no matter what the temperature was outside. And then near the end of school year, his counselor called me to say they received an anonymous message that my son was talking about suicide. "The wheels on the bus were barely hanging on."
Ending this post with a cliff hanger.....more next time. Thanks for reading.
Keeping the faith.....
I've always said that the middle school years are the lowest of the low and for my son that was definitely the case. In fact, he has recounted his 7th Grade year as the pits! (That's my word. His word is not appropriate for this blog!) Seriously, things turned south for him at school and for us at home. We tried all sorts of things, therapy for him, therapy for us, meds for him, advise from family and friends for us. We did have some fun vacations, but we always said that our son was a great kid on vacation. We all enjoyed traveling. It always provided a needed break from the pressures of school.
New friends popped up on the scene. Many new friends. So with the advise from our therapist who specialized in teens, we became friends with their parents. We got to know all the friends, even the ones that weren't so "great". Instead of saying "Don't hang around so and so," (which might have enticed him to want to be friends with them even more), it became a scenario of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em". Our strategy worked to a degree, but our son seemed unhappier and unhappier. He couldn't and wouldn't say why. And at this point, three years later, we still don't know exactly what caused this unhappiness.
We tried going to adventure and action movies with him. We paint-balled with him, at the venue where "moms play free". I learned more about paintball equipment than anyone should ever know. We took him to his favorite Mexican restaurant to "keep him talking". Nothing really worked for more than once or twice. Our therapist suggested some outdoor activities with groups of boys and older men, just to dig deeper into his primitive needs. It then became full on "WAR" (our therapist's word). We were engaged in a battle of wills. And it felt like a raging war. It was a dark time.
I sent emails to all his teachers asking for help. Most responded, one of them actually "got him". She said that our son learned differently and that he wasn't lazy. The new century still hadn't caught up with the learning needs for some kids. All the while, he floundered. We provided a tutor. He stopped going for help towards the end of the school year. We couldn't make him do much of anything. I might as well put $ down the toilet and flushed. Our son always had special classes for extra help, but those classes made him feel different. Strike one! Not easy for a kid who just wants to fit in and be accepted. And he didn't participate in sports because he wasn't as gifted as other kids. Strike two!
The biggest thing that happened during his 7th grade was the explosion of Social Media. I went to the monthly parent ed classes at the Middle School. I talked to every parent I could. I joined some of his questionable apps and tried to be a "watch dog mom". I still had access to his texting and computer communication, but he was quickly locking me out by making new accounts and passwords. The worst part as a parent is when you notice that you are becoming a master detective and your subject is your kid. Let me say right here, it feels terrible. Strike three!
I will have to leave you hanging until my next post........to find out what I discovered in my searching!
Until then, stay strong!
My son grew up in the Digital Age. He knows more about technology than his teachers and his parents.
He used my computer to play Minecraft when he was 10. He could spend hours building Minecraft things and showed others how to play. And then when I could never get online to check my email, we broke down and got him a computer, so he could "do his schoolwork" and get off of my computer. That would have been fine, except for the fact that he never did any schoolwork with it. FIRST FATAL FLAW!
As time went on, he took my old iPhones and used them as iPods for music and silly games like Doodle Jump. That seemed harmless enough, except that he found that he could get a FREE phone number on Google and set the old phone up as HIS phone using a Google number. Without really understanding what he was up to, he had his first phone, as long as he was connected to the internet. Remember he was only 10. SECOND FATAL FLAW!
He spent more and more time connected to this device. In fact he rotated between two old phones, so that one would always be charged. I didn't really give it a second thought. I believed that he would know when to stop. And that he would be able to control himself if he was tired or hungry. That was not the case at all. THIRD FATAL FLAW! What was I thinking?
Now before you rush to judgement, I was a super fan of all things APPLE. I stood in line for the latest releases. I had many subscriptions to Mac magazines. I loved this stuff. So if my son took a fancy to it, that was good, right? NOT EXACTLY. He was a child with a device. I didn't get my first phone until well past the age of 35 and actually used pen and paper to write in school. I was really spoiled when I received an electric typewriter for my High School graduation gift. My brain was already developed. Many folks were jumping on board to the latest in technology. What could go wrong?
The pressure was mounting as fifth grade ended. I had many conversations with moms and dads about giving our kids phones as they graduated from Elementary School. There were two camps: the ones who did and those who said NO WAY. Where do you think I was? That's right. My son got a phone. But it wasn't new, it was last year's model. And guess what? he cried when he got it! What? That's right, some of his classmates received brand new, latest model iPhones and he was not in that group. Peer pressure is the pits for all concerned.
What did we do to make it up to him? We bought him a Wii game. Most of his friends already had one of those and at least with Wii, one could be physical and move around with the sporting games especially. Well the Wii lasted a while: Lego Star Wars games, Wii golf and Wii skiing were fun. We were happy that we held our ground: last year's iPhone and this year's Wii. But NO XBOX.......
Stay tuned to what happened next in my next blog post. This story is just setting the scene for what's to come. It may sound familiar to some of you. Don't forget to bookmark and thanks for reading.
I am Warrior Mom. I am a self proclaimed Techy and I'm NOW calling a halt to the excess use of it! Let's put some balance back into our lives, especially our teens!