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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Purity Culture

Lately, I have been surrounded by people I know, who are strong, fundamentalist Christians.

And, one thing I am learning, for as much as purity doctrine is preached as a way to avoid heart ache and pain, it doesn’t seem to be doing any better than hook-up culture.

A guy sat at our table one day, and told us how many guys a girl could sleep with before she was a worthless whore. My husband tried to shut him up, and it isn’t working. Finally, the man said “what’s the matter with you?” and I interjected “Well, it could be the fact you keep calling his wife a worthless whore.” The man tried to back pedal, but it was too late.

Or how about the woman I know who was raped and then decided since she was worthless now anyway, she was ruined and dirty, why not just sleep with everybody?

Or maybe my brother-in-law, who sat here, night after night, crying about the fact that he gave his cheating wife the one gift he could never give anyone else. He can never have a first time again, and odds are against him finding someone who is a virgin, so, he will never again have a good or special sex life.

Or maybe the neighbor who talked about how women who wore white for their second weddings were just hoochies, and they weren’t fooling anyone, everyone knows they aren’t pure.

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And here I thought the kids gave away the lack of “purity” not the color of the dress.

What about all those people who were taught that any sexual thought or idea or act was strictly prohibited, and then, is supposed to be magically bestowed with a perfect sex life on their wedding night?

Can we just stop? Seriously. I’m so sick of it.

If you want to teach your children to save sex for marriage, how about we teach them there are risks that you may not be prepared for at 16? That it’s a lot easier to raise a baby in a committed relationship at 28 than as a single college student. That it can stir up complicated emotions and can make a relationship more difficult Maybe we can stop telling dozens of kids in youth group to spit into a glass of water, then try to get somebody to drink it and explain “that is how disgusting sleeping around is” or another good one, the chewed up, flavorless piece of gum. Stop comparing people to objects. Stop acting like people, women especially, are nothing more than a body, that can apparently be used up and thrown away.

Guess what? According to my brother, apparently, I’m a whore. That doesn’t make me worthless. It doesn’t make me trash. It doesn’t make me used up, and incapable of having a good relationship. It doesn’t change the fact I am smart, and I am funny and I’m a good parent. It doesn’t change my ability to see something in my head and create it. It doesn’t stop my love of learning, or my talent at cooking. It doesn’t mean I love my husband less, or am less committed to him. It doesn’t mean my sex life is meaningless.

I’m just aggravated, I’ve recently been called a whore, I’ve always been called a slut, and have listened to Mike, repeatedly, explain that he truly loved my sister, and that is why they waited until they were married to have sex.

you know what? Brad and I didn’t wait 24 hours to have sex. I’ve never doubted, for a minute, that man loves me like crazy. A person’s love isn’t more special just because you didn’t have sex before marriage. It isn’t more true love.

I’m not saying we’ve never had to deal with the consequences of those choices. We have had to deal with some issues that came up because of that. But, it doesn’t seem like there are fewer issues or happier marriages if you wait.

Nobody is worthless, or used up, or dirty. Everyone can change if they want to, but this purity preaching makes it real hard to want to, when you hear from every direction that you can’t. I mean, let’s think back to the glass of water. That is what you were compared to, you can’t go and take out every molecule of spit. You can’t take the germs out of the gum and put the flavor back in.

How about we compare to people to a notebook, if we want to use objects to describe people.

And, everyone you come into contact with gets to write a few lines. They are helping shape your story.

Sometimes the words are encouraging, and sometimes they are hurtful. Sometimes they words are deserved. Sometimes they aren’t.

But, you get to write to, draw over it, make it beautiful, change it, erase it. Maybe, if you look real hard, you can see how the old words, how the old story shaped that particular page…but you get tot change it. And, with time, the page will smooth out. And, sometimes you’ll make new friends, who come in with markers and paint and make those pages beautiful too. Or make the future pages so beautiful you don’t look at the old ones anymore.

It doesn’t matter how the book ends up shaping up, it isn’t worthless. There is something valuable inside.

And, the people who won’t want to open the pages and see it probably aren’t really people you want to be friends with anyway.

Not this

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But This

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Edited to add: I didn’t touch on the religious aspect of the teachings. I know many will argue that the Bible and God want them to teach this.

Really? And how do you come to this conclusion? Because I’ve missed it.

Yes, it does talk about adultery and fornication. It also talks about many other things.

We don’t tell a shop lifting teenager we will disown them if they get caught shoplifting. Which is what we tell teenage girls about pregnancy.

We look at being unable to “control” ones self when alone with a boyfriend/girlfriend as a huge moral failing, but we don’t consider being unable to control ourselves at the dinner table as a shameful thing. Gluttony is mentioned in the Bible too.

We don’t tell a defiant middle-schooler that now they are dirty. Even though the Bible says you should respect your parents.

We don’t tell our kids not to be friends with Billy, across the street, because you heard he puts away his laundry AND mows the lawn on the Sabbath.

We don’t put our arms around the crying 10 yr old, who is jealous Jessie got the brand new bike, IN HIS FAVORITE COLORS, and he has to make due with a too big one from a garage sale, and tell the child “You are used up and dirty now, because you are envious, and the Bible says that is bad.”

Let’s stop defining people by their mistakes, and judging their worth that.

We only use “worthless” and “dirty” to describe sexual sins. God can forgive, and people can change, but when you put this on such a high level, it seems like it is a lot harder to fix.

A Success Story, Part 1

I really debated about posting this. I’ve went back and forth. But, my 9 year old brother is staying with us for a couple weeks while our parents are on vacation. I’m really struggling, watching him. Not that he misbehaves. He doesn’t. He’s loud, but, when you grow up with all the noise he does it isn’t any wonder. I’m trying to curb the constant yelling and interrupting. I’m afraid 2 weeks isn’t enough time though.

I’ve decided to let Monday be unit study day for my kids. Since I have LB here, I figure he needs to do school work as well. But, I wasn’t brought anything for him, nor any guidelines or instructions. So, as I worked on the unit study packets this past weekend, I made him one as well. A few weeks ago, my mom was acting irritated that LB made her look bad, that he told our grandma he couldn’t read, but he reads all the time. I thought that was an odd thing to lie about, but ok. Now that I’m doing homework with him, I see, he really can’t read. And, he just doesn’t understand  anything we are doing. My youngest boy is old enough for 3rd grade. But, because of when his birthday falls, I started him late. He’s in 2nd. He’s 8 and a half. My brother is a year older. And, also in 2nd grade. And, struggling with basic addition, or ANY reading. Today, as my boys worked through the worksheets, LB said “I’m really getting behind in school now.” I said, “No you aren’t. I’m working with you.” And he said “Yeah, but I don’t do school at home.” I asked how he felt about that, and he said angry, why is he “stupider” than my youngest? I said “Well, why don’t you do school?” he said “Mom is gone all the time, so, 17 yr old babysits. We just watch tv or watch them play video games.”

If I bring this up, my mother will 1. tell me he’s lying. 2. tell me she has never stopped him from getting out his school books and doing work. and 3. she will decide the problem is the video games, and get rid of the system my brother bought with his own money.

My parents cannot admit their homeschool experiment was a failure, because, I wasn’t a failure. I’m a “success” story. And, that is the story I want to share. How I became the poster child for doing things right, their way. It’s long, so I will divide it up. The story is actually going to be published anonymously elsewhere. I submitted it, and they said it would definitely be published. There was some things that are fairly identifying, however, when I read through the other submissions, so many things weren’t identifying. The huge number of siblings. The messy house. The emotional and physical abuse. The ideal front, and the church attendance, that hid everything else. Sadly, my story can easily be told while remaining anonymous, because there are so many Punkies out there. I apologize for any repeated information. I am copying and pasting from my submission to the other place.

Part 1: Elementary School

I am a homeschooling “success” story.

A fact that is rolled out by my parents, constantly. They have 10 children, and, if you dare question them about anything, including the fact their 6 year old acts more like a 3 year old, or that their 18 year old son can’t read, they will quickly point out Punkie and how successful she is.

As I read stories and as the online community has grown, I realize there are other people out here just like me. People who had parents who kept them isolated, who didn’t let anyone around, who weren’t actually taught anything. In some ways I think my abuse wasn’t so bad. I mean, I didn’t have to wear dresses all the time.  While my parents loved the Pearl’s method of raising children, it required too much work to keep up with. And, the abuse wasn’t usually physical, much. So, I have nothing to complain about. Then again, I read stories and am jealous of kids who were allowed to go to church activities and be on debate teams, and even go to conventions. My husband, Brad, has some of the same thoughts. His abuse was mainly mental, spiritual, and emotional abuse. Mine was the same, but with some physical thrown in as well.

I went to public school from K-3rd grade. In 4th, I was homeschooled. I was given dozens of different reasons why I was homeschooled, always seeming to change with whatever hyped news story was being broadcast. I was handed a stack of books and told to do the work in them. Since I could read, my mother claimed she did not need to teach me, just read the directions. That never changed. The sibling just younger than me has severe learning disabilities, even now, in our twenties, she has the mentality of a 6 year old.  She didn’t get schooling.  Our parents decided she could not learn, and didn’t even try. While we grew up, I’m the one who taught her to write her name, and how to make letters. I taught her to ride a 2-wheeled bike, how to pet a dog (she was terrified of animals), how to tie her shoes. When she was 16, I taught her how to swim. I’d been working on helping her over her fear of water for years, and one summer, she was swimming with me. Not often, and she didn’t like it much, but she did it. One day my father decided she needed to swim, he wanted to see how she did. She started to cry and fight him. She screamed, I tried to stop them. He picked her up and threw her in anyway, because she was disobedient. She panicked and needed saved, I had to calm her while pulling her back to the boat, in the middle of the lake.  She’s never swum again. I taught other siblings how to read, and long division. My mother rarely ever cooked, she only knows how to microwave junk food.  She says she doesn’t know how to cook, but, somehow, I learned how to make real meals.

I hated being homeschooled. I hated being taken from my friends, I hated being home all day. I hated not being “taught”. I hated that I lost my reprive from my mother’s screaming, and my dad’s constant yelling and temper tantrums, often that ended with the sound of the belt being pulled from his pants, to hit us with. My mother would scream at us, calling us names, expecting me to parents the others, and if I wasn’t a very good 10 year old mother, then it was made clear that I was worthless. She was always pregnant, always tired, always napping. When she wasn’t sleeping until noon, she was sitting on the sofa, watching t.v., demanding we clean something. Or mad at us for watching t.v. too much. Wanting to know why we were hungry, why hadn’t we microwaved a plate of Pizza Rolls if we were hungry? But, don’t forget, you can’t eat too many, because then she and dad wanted to know why we were such pigs  and wasted all their money.

Dad would come home from work, furious that there were dishes left undone, and I should have done them. It  didn’t matter that it wasn’t my turn, or we’d been busy. The only thing that mattered was they needed done. He would fight with mom because she was lazy and he worked so hard. Mom would get offended and tell him it was our fault. The fight would ramp up, the screaming getting louder. And, eventually, she would decide she didn’t have to put up with it, and she’d walk out. Leaving us with him. He’d continue the yelling for hours, getting so in our faces, sometimes we’d get spit on us, it was disrespectful to not stand there and take it. He would punch holes in walls, he threw a toy tractor through a glass door, he hit my sister with the vacuum cord because she didn’t wind it right. He’d call us pigs and worthless. He’d throw cups full of milk. I remember one time very clearly crying, and he got in my face, demanding I explain why I was crying. I told him I was scared, and he said “Good, the Bible says you should fear God.” That was the moment I lost any bit of respect I had for him. My tears were often ridiculed and punished. I tried to protect “my” kids the best I could. Often mouthing off so the ire was turned towards me, while the others ran away. 20 minutes after the screaming stopped, he’d call us back. He’d apologize, but the apology was always blaming us. He was sorry he couldn’t control his temper, we had just pushed him too far. Then, he would say “Will you forgive me?” but, it wasn’t a question, it was a demand. The only allowable response was “Yes, Sir.” Then we had to give him a hug.

to be continued…

 

We Were Raised This Way

I recently read another blog post, We were Told to Do the Hard Things. Well, We Are.

I agree with much of the post, but what really resonated with me was this;

You know those concerns about advanced technology escaping our control and taking on a life of its own? In some sense, that is what is going on here. The leaders of the Christian homeschool movement set out to create an entire generation of culture changers. Well, they succeeded, but it’s our turn now. And they’re going to have to live with it.

Brad and I were the in the first big wave of home schooling. Maybe it wasn’t completely unheard of, but it was definitely weird. Mainly used by religious zealots. We probably fit into that category. Or, our parents did anyway.

We were told we were being home schooled to keep us from bad influences, because we’d give into peer pressure, because they didn’t want what they taught us to be undermined by anyone else. We needed to be kept from others until we were strong enough to fight for what we believed. We were supposed to stand up proud and defend our beliefs.

Somehow though, they never expected our beliefs to be different from theirs. We were supposed to grow up up and parrot back the things we’d been told for 18 yrs.

And, many of “us” did exactly that. But, some of us didn’t.

A lot of those kids are my age now. A lot of us are in our late twenties, early thirties, and have a lot to say. We’re a decade or more out now, we’ve learned to speak our minds, and make up our own minds. We’ve seen where our education was lacking, and where our up bringing bordered on abusive, and we finally realize it. Some of us tried to get help back then, but weren’t taken seriously, and realize we have a lot more power now.

Now, we are speaking our minds, we are standing up for what we believe. It is us standing up and asking for stricter regulations, more checks in place. We’re talking about all of this.

And, often, the parents have become the school bullies. The ones trying to shut us up, trying to discredit us. There are many of them fighting back saying that we have exaggerated our stories for sympathy and attention. That we have ulterior motives. I’ve even seen us compared to demons, being used by Satan, attacking good Christian families. These loving parents have destroyed their relationships older siblings have with younger ones… because they won’t allow the older sibling to say “this is wrong”.

They wanted us to be strong, to stand up for what we believed.

Now we are, but, we didn’t follow the script, so, they believe that by becoming everything we were taught to be, that we have become the enemy. We are supposed to shut up otherwise we lose our siblings, our parents. We are supposed to shut up because anecdotes do not equal data, we are supposed to shut up otherwise we will have more government in our lives and our children will be taken away. We are supposed to keep the secrets, because not EVERY family was like that.

That one always amuses me, in a sad sort of way.

“Don’t tell anyone about abuse, because there are so many families doing it right. And, don’t tell anyone about your upbringing, because it wasn’t that bad, there are so many families that abused their kids worse.”

Yes, we can’t tell, we can’t beg for more regulation, because there are many families who do teach their kids to read, and they shouldn’t be punished for the actions of the very few. But, we are also told that the isolation wasn’t that bad, because some people lock their kids in cages. The bruises weren’t that bad, because some people break bones. It wasn’t real abuse, because other people had it worse. (And then you have the nerve to question why i didn’t have my ex-husband arrested the first time he tried to run me over…because he didn’t succeed. Because he didn’t break any of my bones. Because he never punched me. So many women had it worse, you know. That’s why I didn’t tell.) You can’t have it both ways, you can’t say we don’t need more regulation because all the parents are good people, while saying your poor parenting didn’t need examined because SO MANY people were worse.

I am thinking about doing a series about home schooling and change, this will be the first part. I have a lot to say, but, I don’t want to make today’s post a novel.

Anger and Forgiveness

What is forgiveness to you?

I have a lot of forgiving to do. I know this. I had to work on forgiving myself for many things, many of my choices. I have had to forgive Aussie for some things. My sister spent a few years calling me names and being rude because she found condoms in my medicine cabinet. I never liked her much anyway, so, I need to forgive. I need to forgive my ex-husband.  For the cheating and the emotional/mental/physical abuse. I need to forgive my parents, for the same abuse, for the lack of education… I’m sure they would appreciate it, but, I’m really being kind of selfish about that, I think I’ll feel better. 

But, it’s a process. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be. I don’t know. Maybe some of you can wake up one morning and say “all is forgiven” and move on without another thought. But, I can’t. I actually had a class last week, where we had to watch a documentary about meth. They were talking to people trying to get off of it, and one woman said that she hadn’t quit meth, she was quitting meth. It was a process. Everyday she had to tell herself today she wasn’t doing meth. And, I oddly feel that way about forgiveness at this point. Today I forgive you for that one time. And, tomorrow, I’ll forgive you for that other time, maybe, I’ll work on it. I’m not able, at this point, to do just some big lump of forgiveness. Maybe that is a flaw in me, but, I think it’s progress.

I used to be so mad all the time. I mean, all of it. I was so mad about how life was so unfair. About how everybody was so mean. But, I’ve tried to stop that, I know that wasn’t good for me. I’ve tried to change what I could, and fix what I could. I try to count my blessing and realize that things could have turned out completely differently for me, but they didn’t, and I’m extremely happy with where I am in my life, I’m proud of me, I like me, and my husband, and our little family. So, I can accept that all the crap is what got me here, doesn’t mean I’m thrilled with it, but, I accept it. I accept I can’t change the past.

I spent years avoiding my dad, and making it very clear that was what I was doing. Part of me wanted to completely cut my family out of my life, but, I also knew I depended too much on them at that point. I played mostly nice and I avoided dad. Recently though, I’ve been trying. I really have. I don’t think we’ll ever be close, but, I thought I could stay for 10-15 minutes after he got home from work, say hi, ask about work before I left. When he wants to stop by for a visit, I make a fresh pot of coffee for him. I know it isn’t much, but, it’s what I could do today, you know? The relationship is quite superficial, but, not so angry anymore, so, it’s something. I’ve tried to do the same with my sister and my ex. I don’t think we’ll ever be friends, but, I can be kind when we have to be around each other. 

Last week, it was a bad week. I had to go to court with my ex, thing one had strep throat, ex was over medicating him, telling me the divorce decree said differently than it did, just lots of little stuff. I had to leave the boys with mom for court. I went back to get them, and for some reason she started talking about how she’s learned to be a better parents and how she feels bad about the name she called us when we were little. She asks if I remember, then tells me not to say anything. I said I did. Then she starts pestering me about what I remember. I say what i remember her calling me, and she gets upset, spends 5 minutes telling me she never said that. So, I drop it. Then, she waits and asks again, then she says it. The whole thing was just bizarre. I say yeah I remember being called that, she says something about “why didn’t you say it then?” I said “because, honestly, the things you called us was eclipsed by the things Dad said and did.” Then, she tears up “Well, I hope one day you can grow enough as a person to find it in your heart to forgive him.”

It really felt like a slap in the face, I’d been trying. But, almost every time I see him, I have new things to forgive! I was trying, and it wasn’t good enough, it wasn’t enough. She changes the subject, but i’m fighting back tears. Finally I say I’m irritated, that I’d been trying. That maybe she should just tell me what forgiveness looks like to her since I’m not doing it right. Does it mean I can’t be hurt? Does it mean it never gets brought up again? Does it mean I have to pretend everything is ok all the time? For a MONTH my ex husband treated me like dad did for 25 years, and they want him arrested, but, I just need to shut up and forgive dad? And apparently forgive means opening myself up to constant hurt and pain from him, without another word of how he’s been doing this for almost THIRTY YEARS, so he and mom can be happy.

God I was mad. I went on, “No, I don’t remember, I don’t give a shit what names you called us. I cared that you’d get dad all worked up, and you’d get him mad, and he’d start screaming and breaking things and demanding we get up and scrub the house at 3 am, and you’d just walk out. But, not usually before making fun of me for crying because i was scared. You’d just leave, leave us with him, crying and scared, with me trying to calm down the 4 yr old on my lap crying and half asleep. Then you’d come home to a clean house, and a calmed down husband, and everything was fine. I care about that. But, you’ve never asked for forgiveness or even apologized for that one. I remember him throwing Bro’s little tikes tractor through the huge glass door, then demanding the 5 yr old clean it up all the glass. And you didn’t do anything! I remember him punching a hole through the wall on Christmas Eve, then throwing our toys away at 2am, and you didn’t keep quiet that time. You didn’t walk away that time. You helped him! You told us it was all our fault. I care that you didn’t stop it, that you didn’t protect us!”

What I want to say:

“You want me to forgive faster and i’m working on it! I have 30 yrs of crap to forgive. I have a father who was always harder on me than everyone else because I wasn’t his, he only tolerated me to get you! I have a father, who i called him crying…’daddy, he’s cheating and breaking things, Help me. I got to go.’ and my ex hid in the closet, and dad went and knocked on the door, and when Joe didn’t answer, he left. I said ‘break in the door! He’s there! It’s my house! break in the door!’ and he said “no, you aren’t worth going to jail over. I have a dad who rushed out to pick up his favorite daughter from her boyfriends or church or whatever, after she’d been sick and hurting all day, but she went anyway, then couldn’t drive home, the night i had surgery. He CARRIED her in the house, but, my kids toys were on the floor, so he kicked them, came back, dumped over the entire toy box, then made me clean it all up. 4 hours after I got home from the hospital. Because sister MIGHT have gotten hurt if he tripped. I married a guy you said I had to, then when I said thats why, you told me that you didn’t mean it. I had dad hit my kid in front of me, then, when I took the boy away, he came after me to scream and berate me for how i parented and how horrible my kids were. I passed out in the driveway once, from a panic attack I had while he screamed and trashed me, and he said I faked it! You stood by as he hit us with belts, not caring if the buckle got us! When he left a handprint bruise on my leg after I cried because he broke my bike, your only words of comfort were ‘go put some ice on it, you shouldn’t have made him so mad.’ You didn’t stop him from hitting the other sister with the vacuum cord! my 25th birthday was being taken out for lunch by my brother, followed up with him screaming at me, putting me down, calling me names, telling  me I was a bad mom and my life would be perfect if only I would have done everything you ever said. When I pointed out I did marry dipshit like you told me to, it turned into, ‘we also told you not to have sex with him before you were married, so, that was your own fault.’ apparently, this plan only worked as long as I never broke a rule since birth, after that, I was all on my own. You know how that fight got started? I went out, to take myself out for ice cream that night, I had to borrow your car. I turned the key, and it didn’t start. And that was my fault. I destroy all your things, I don’t take care of anything, you guys are tired of helping me. Even though, I never even drove that car, the battery was just dead. 

I hate being part of a giant family, and I hate that you always want to pretend our last name is Walton. I think it was selfish to have that many kids, when sister 2 could have used more time and attention and support. I hate that you had 2 more kids after i had mine, because you robbed my kids of having real grandparents, you guys are basically their friend’s parents. You punish them for things your kids did, you take your kids’ side. i hate that my kids can’t stay the night at your house, because they don’t want mice crawling over them when they sleep. I hate that you don’t see that this is gross and a problem! I hate that I get lumped in with everybody else, nobody knows ME they know me as part of you all, and i’m not. I hate that you get offended that I am not close to the 2 baby brothers, and you really hoped we would be. They are 20+ yrs younger than me!

I stay in your life not because I desire any sort of relationship with you, either of you, but so i can try to protect sister 2 somewhat. Because my boys consider brother5 their friend, and I can’t or won’t take him from them. And, really, I keep hoping I can show brother 5 that there is more to life than you teach him. I’m not writing you off, because I still have 2 other siblings living at home. 

I hate that I can’t say I’m done with the drama, and I’m just going to keep to myself, because then you two make fun of me, you put me down, you roll your eyes and call me a martyr. Make snide comment about how i’m overly emotional and need to grow up. Because you guys need the drama. You pretend you don’t, but you do. How are you going to feel better than everyone if you don’t fight with them? If you don’t have drama going on constantly?

 

For the Good of the Kids

My semester ends Wednesday. One more math test. I have fought and struggled. Last night I took the final math quiz 4 times. There were almost 100 questions on it. I took it over and over until I ran out of time. I’m getting a B overall. If I can just pass this last test. Then, one more semester.

Today I would like to say, if I never hear the words “best for the kids” again, it will be too soon.

It’s the “cuz God” argument all over again.

The moment you say something is best for the kids, or because God said, you have shut down the conversation. You have made anyone who disagrees with you a bad person, because they don’t care about “the good of the kids”.

I see it ALL the time on the infidelity board I am a member of. People go on and on and on about how whatever they want is for the good of the kids. “I want to put my kid in soccer, it’s what’s best for the kids. But, my ex won’t drive him to practice!” Somebody says “Then you drive him.” and all of a sudden it is “NO! I will NOT drive him. My ex is a parent too, and he doesn’t just get to run off into the sunset, and I’m not doing it all on my own, and he can waste his own gas, let his whore see  how much works kids really are!”

Ummm…what happened to “best for the kids”?

The best advice I can give someone going through a divorce, or trying to raise kids while divorced is this:

Your spouse is dead. That person you loved and trusted, who could never hurt you? Completely dead. You are now single, and unfortunately the only babysitter you can find at times, while free, is a person who looks oddly like your ex. There is no past to discuss with this stranger.

I know, you are sitting there thinking “I’m just supposed to let them get away with the things they did to me?” No, you are supposed to know that, they will never see that they did anything to you. When you go nuts, they will feel justified in all the things they did. His new gf and he will giggle over his crazy ex and how you deserved all he did. And really…if it is REALLY all about the kids, then, why complain about picking them up from soccer? Why are you concerned about punishing your ex?

I get blasted by my friends fairly often because I am willing to pick up the kids on Sundays around my ex’s work schedule. And, I shouldn’t do that, I should stick to the schedule, he’s just making me do whatever he wants, he needs to see there are consequences for the things he has done, I am not supposed to just drop everything so he doesn’t have to find a babysitter.

Again, I thought it was all about best for the kids. And, isn’t it best that they come home when their dad has to go to work? Or is it better for them to stay with whoever he’s sleeping with this week, and constant changing rules? Best for the kids says they can come home, where their things are, where they are comfortable, where they are with people who love them.

Do what you want, but quit pretending it is all “for the kids”.

Bad influences

This song came on the radio the other day, when my oldest informed me that he loved that song. I said, I liked it to, and I hoped they were watching the right people and learning the right things. My younger one piped up and said “Yeah mommy, we are. We are learning from Brad that you have to take care of your family. That you have to do a good job in school and get a good job. That you work hard and you can buy the things you want. And you don’t have to yell and scream all the time!” I asked the 8 yr old what he learned and he told me “We learned from daddy, that sometimes you will get fired for making one little mistake so why even bother trying to do a good job. And if you are in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, then you need to leave it and find a girl who will make you happy.” I should say here that their dad was fired from 10 jobs within 2 years. He had at least 4 girlfriends I know about while we still lived together, and in the 5 yrs he’s been gone, he’s lived with 5 different women, but moved 15 times. (At least)

I was mad. I told them, as calmly as I could that first of all, almost nobody gets fired for “one little mistake” and that if you are doing something you need to do your best, if you mess up you need to take responsibility for it and man up and take the consequence, and learn from it. I also told them that a relationship wouldn’t make them happy, if they loved a girl only for how happy she made them, then it was for the wrong reasons. That you can’t count on someone else making you happy, because people aren’t perfect, they will not always make you happy. I told them if they were dating a girl and found that she wasn’t right for them, then they should end the relationship, but, they shouldn’t live with every girl they meet, and if they are married, then it is their responsibility to go to their wife and say “we have a problem, will you help me fix it?” Not just replace the woman and think it was all better.

You know, I can accept most the unfairness of divorce. I can accept he doesn’t pay child support, and I deal with the fact he ignores the court order to provide them with health insurance. I have even come to terms with the fact he abused me, but the court still decided he was ok to have unsupervised visitation. However, I’m really struggling with the fact he is allowed to warp their minds with his bullshit. He is allowed to do these things that have lasting impact and I am allowed to do nothing to stop it. If they boys had a babysitter that taught them this garbage, or a teacher, everyone would support me changing that. But, he’s their dad, so, whatever he says is cool?

This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me based on the fact he THOUGHT the religion we were didn’t allow Christmas and he’s not ok with that, so, I shouldn’t have them. But I have to stand by silently while he tells them they don’t even have to try to do a good job at work? This is the same man who tried to take the kids from me on the basis of I didn’t feed them enough hamburger. Yes, I am serious. Nevermind the fact that for the last FIVE YEARS he has lived with women who already have kids and only a 2 bedroom apartment, or gotten his own one bedroom apartments. For FIVE YEARS our children have not had a bedroom or a bed when they visit their dad. Right now they sleep on an air mattress on the floor. You know who bought the air mattress? ME!

What I really want to tell the kids is the truth. I want to point out how stupid his advice is. He is THIRTY YEARS OLD. Why can he not manage to get his own place? Why can he not provide our kids with beds? He told them he’s buying another truck, so he will have two, one from driving every day and one for off roading. But he can’t buy them a freakin’ bed. Why can’t a 30 yr old keep a job? Why can’t he manage a relationship? I want to point out, that following Brad’s example = good job, money, 2 nice cars, 2 project cars, lots of travel, lots of fun things, a nice, new house, dinner out when you feel like it, museum memberships, good relationship, etc. Ex’s example=Sleeping on women’s couches until  you can convince them to have sex with you, then you are “in a relationship”, cars that leave you stranded all the time, being too broke for McDonalds. A long string of “true love” failed relationships, lots of yelling and fighting, being homeless, lots of run ins with the law, “vacations” that consist of driving an hour to the beach for the day then coming home. Oh, and not taking care of your children, so, you go to court for that as well.

I really hope they are both smart enough to realize Brad’s example is the one to follow.But, I still hate that ex is allowed to be such a bad influence and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I can’t even talk to him, because he truly believes what he says. He believes I have been the source of all his problems for the last 10 yrs. Even though, he’s been gone for 5, and if I’m such a bad person, then how come I’m coming out ahead. I don’t impact his life anymore at all, so, shouldn’t he start crawling out of the hole I supposedly pushed him in? 5 yrs should be enough time for a start.

Feeling Let Down

I struggle to write what is on my mind, because I feel like it makes me sound so…stuck up? Full of myself? I’m not sure, I’m just fairly sure I don’t come across as I would like to, as I mean to.

You know the Bible verse, the one about leaving your parents and cleaving to your spouse?  We are still in the newlywed category, and to be honest, I didn’t expect either family to make it quite so easy. Neither one of us has a huge amount of friends, but, we both have huge families. And, I think we are both feeling sad and dissapointed lately.

 

Yeah, exactly how I’m feeling.

I won’t tell Aussie’s story, because it isn’t mine to tell. But, I will tell some of mine. I started algebra this semester. I’ve taken this class 4 or 5 times. I fail every time. I’ve taken the remedial math, I’ve done all the homework, and then some. I’ve been to tutoring, I’ve asked for help, I’ve spoken to the teachers. I just don’t get it. So, I try again.

And, this class is now bringing up HUGE feelings of disappointment and resentment towards my family. My parents especially.

I was homeschooled. I never got much of a reason why. Actually, let me rephrase, I had a continuously changing reason why, that ebbed and flowed with the passing trends that made public schools “bad”. When I could counter their arguments, I was told that was never the reason, they never said that, and the real reason was XYZ. What are some of these reasons?

  • I was too smart for public school.
  • I was bored.
  • I might be around bad influences.
  • Prayer has been taken out of schools.
  • God has been taken out of schools.
  • They teach evolution!
  • I was unhappy there, apparently.
  • My sister hated going to school, so obviously it was bad.
  • School shootings!!!
  • God told them to take me out of school.
  • Public schools were/are sinful and God commands us not to sin just because it is popular.

I am sure there are a lot more, but, you get the idea. Homeschooling to my mom meant she slept in until 11, talked to her friend on the phone for a couple hours a day, handed me a stack of books and told me I was responsible for independent study. I have a 17 yr old brother who is practically illiterate, and a sister I think may have dyslexia. But, nobody must know, you can’t get help, because then people MIGHT think you aren’t doing things right and put the kids in school!

I ran away when I was 12ish. I told them my dad was abusive, and my parents were not home schooling us. They were handing over books, and only noticing when pages were completely blank. Nothing ever got checked. I told them about my siblings. I told the police, I told CPS, I told the judge, I told family. I was terrified, and a child. My parents would call me, screaming “You’re a fucking liar!” Nobody ever asked to see the books, nobody ever checked in on anything. My grandma had to put me in therapy to get me past the “family therapy” my parents put me in. Which consisted of all 3 adults calling me a liar, and trying to get to the root cause of why I was a liar. Except I wasn’t.

3 months later the judge sent me home. Did I mention, the judge was friends with my parents? Yeah, stupid preteen me didn’t know enough to point out how wrong this was. We started going to his church a few months later.

So, I went home. Nothing changed on the school front, but, my dad got less abusive, especially to everyone else, so, I counted at least that part as well worth all the trouble. And, I decided I was getting out of there. I did my homework, I struggled through math. When I asked for help, my parents told me they didn’t understand. When I asked for them to get me help, we couldn’t afford it. When their friends offered to help, my parents complained about how far it was to drive, and how if I was struggling so bad, maybe I could just skip the ONE youth group activity I was allowed a month so I could study more. So, when 14 yr old me was offered this choice, obviously, I choice to skip tutoring. Which, obviously meant, I understood the work, I just wasn’t willing to do it. My junior year of high school, I took the answer book. My mom never noticed. It wasn’t to cheat, it was to check my work, then to rework it until I understood it. I spent hours working on this. Nobody ever knew.

I graduated a yr early, and got a full ride scholarship to the big state school. It was the worst thing I ever did. Because, my parents have spent the last 10 yrs saying that obviously they do an amazing job at homeschooling, and obviously it is superior to all other schooling, because, well, look at Punkie.

Oddly, they never mention Punkie flunked out her first semester. Got ALL Fs.

They never mention Punkie has failed algebra 5 times now. And, has no idea what is going on, no idea how to understand. The ass backwards ways I taught myself in high school are screwing me over now.

You know, I’ve spent the last 15 yrs trying to take responsibility for my failures, trying to own my own shit, trying to not blame others. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of taking responsibility for problems that I didn’t cause.

I cringe whenever I see one of my siblings facebook posts. My one sister is trying to start a photography business, and has a page for it. Nothing is spelled right. My other sister works at Salvation Army because the pay is amazing. My little brother had to take the ASVAB test 4 times before he BARELY got a high enough score to get into ANY military branch. My other brother, the 17 yr old, reads the helicopter books I bought for my 8 yr old when he thinks nobody is looking. But, never any other book.

I have another younger brother, he’s a teenager, and yesterday I told my mom, over the weekend I did about 250 math problems. I was assigned 60, but I am really trying to pass. My mom said “I guess we know who can help with math now!” then she tells me about my brother, how he’s so good at math. He never follows the instructions, but gets the right answer. Just like me. I told  her, that is really, really causing problems for me now. I explained why. She laughed and said “Well, I just have to get him through high school, college can teach him what he really needs to know.”

I could have about cried.

I’ve offered to teach the kids. If you look at my kids school work…I spend HOURS every week, preparing for the next week. I spend hours teaching them, going over things over and over again. I actually grade all the work. I have a lesson plan. I have a base curriculum and add to it, to make my own, making some things more difficult. Adding pages where I know they struggle. I’ve offered…my mom doesn’t want to spend the gas money. Her and dad can go out to eat a few times a week, but, can’t spend $4 a day to bring the kids over for help.

I’m so angry that I am paying for their choices now. I’m so angry that nobody listened to me when I tried to get help. I’m so angry that it is too late for my siblings. I’m angry that my family is almost PROUD of being ignorant. Of the fact they don’t need no college. I’m angry my brothers don’t even realize how much they don’t know. I’m angry they have been unknowingly sentenced to a lifetime of factory work or retail, without their consent. I’m angry that I struggle so much with some of these subjects, but, I certainly can’t complain, because then I hear about how if I was really concerned I would have studied and not signed the boys up for sports, so I would have more time. And, I’m angry all the times I do well, I am held up as the poster child for all the great things about homeschooling. My parents had nothing to do with any of the things I am good at. I taught myself! I had to!

You know what? I’m not that freaking special or smart or successful. Actually, I take it back, I am smart. I decided to do better, and I did. But, I somehow saw there was more to life than what my parents taught us. I’m the only one who did. I’m not special, I’m not successful. I look like it. I look like a spoiled brat most the time. I’ve got a great relationship, and two kids that are somehow amazing, in spite of all they have been through. And, I can’t even talk about my life, because I sound so stuck up. I just got back from a trip to Montana, right after the trip to Florida, and I leave for a cruise in about 6 weeks. I’ve got a Tiffany box sitting on my coffee table, and a pile of clothes with the tags still on them. I went out for coffee almost every day this summer. And, I’m not saying this to brag, I’m not. I’m using to to show, how “look at Punkie!” has become a source of pride for my parents. They miss that they coerced me into marrying an abusive asshole the first time. They don’t seem to get it… all this great stuff? It has NOTHING to do with me, nothing. It is a result of Aussie’s success. HIS parents can use it as an argument for homeschooling. Mine can not. Because, it has NOTHING to do with me, and FAR less to do with them and their teaching skills. And to be honest, a huge majority of my spoiled persona has cost us practically nothing. Airlines give lots of free perks, as do hotel chains, and rental car companies. When the company pays for the Starbucks, and you can give your wife the card, she gets the free syrups and refills and extra perks. So, again, I’d like to say, don’t judge me too harshly on this one, because if the company Aussie worked for didn’t allow him to keep the perks, and instead made him use frequent flier miles to get to work, or that sort of thing, we would look exactly like every other young couple with a couple kids.

I do’t even know what the point of writing this was. I just needed to get it all out. I am so angry and so resentful right now. I feel like I’m outgrowing my family and it’s a lonely feeling.

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