My Why

I have said on this blog before that I no longer believe that everything happens for a reason.  Some of you may have heard me articulate this as “I don’t believe that God gives us the bad stuff.”  I just can’t wrap my head around a world where the difficult path that I have been down was chosen for me, that I have suffered so much because I am uniquely strong enough to bear it.  I think we have a lot more choice than that, and sometimes shit just happens.  And it’s not fair, and it’s not because I deserved it, or because I needed it to grow as a person.  I am just someone who for a long time couldn’t catch a break.  And I went through a long string of crazy health problems and am just now coming out the other side of it.

What I do believe is that people who are dealt a rough hand have the option to bet on it anyway.  We don’t always have the ability to change the circumstances that come into our lives, but we can choose to keep going, to get out of bed every day (or most days) and hope for the best.  And if we are lucky, we can find a way to turn those things into something great.  And sometimes God, or The Universe, or Completely Random Chance (whatever you want to name it that makes sense to you) lets things line up in a way that all that crap makes sense and has a purpose and can be turned into something beautiful.

This is more philosophical than I usually get here, but I need to explain to everyone why all of the sudden I have become (even more of) a crazy person and decided to take on a huge project when I am not quite fully functional myself.  I started a charity.  Like yesterday.  With no real plan in place, just flying by the seat of my yoga pants and praying that it turns out ok.

I have actually been thinking about starting this since I first got sick.  Because I always knew how fortunate I was that with the help of our families we could afford to hire a nanny to get me through the worst of it.  And I found Wonder J– as I have written before she has been amazing for our family.  I always knew that I could focus on taking care of myself and be there for my girls as much as possible, but have confidence that if I hit a wall and had to go lay down, or got dizzy, or was about to poop my pants (sorry for the TMI but we are talking colon removal here!) Flopsy and Curly were in good hands.   I can’t even begin to describe how much I needed this help, I am not exaggerating when I say I am not sure I could have gotten through the last few years without a nanny.  Cause stay at home mommies don’t get sick days.  Ever.  Not if you have a cold and not if you have cancer.

I never thought I would get so sick I couldn't even lift ONE baby!
I never thought I would get so sick I couldn’t even lift ONE baby!

Stay at home mommies of young kids don’t have disability insurance and most of us don’t have any sort of childcare set up.  Maybe a MDO or a couple of hours of babysitting here and there.  Not enough to go to seven doctor’s appointments a week.  Or be in the hospital for 20 days in a year.  Or go through invasive treatments and surgeries that leave you feeling like warmed-up death.  And if you can’t afford to hire help than at best you have tons of different people volunteering a few hours here and there, having to explain your kids schedule to every person that helps you, feeling guilty that there is no consistency in the kids lives, and at worst have to miss vital appointments or treatments because you can’t find someone to watch your kid with strep.  Who, by the way, you shouldn’t even be near because you have a severely compromised immune system.  Not a great situation, huh?

So when I heard that my friend Annie (who has two darling kids and not-so-cute colon cancer) was back in the hospital following surgical complications, and did not have and could not afford full time help to get her through the rest of her surgeries and chemo, I knew I HAD to do something.  See, a few years ago, I would have heard her story and thought, “Aww that sucks, she’s so nice, this is going to be really hard for her.”  But now I hear that story and say “NO!!! You can’t do this by yourself, if you can’t get help then I will get it for you.”  And then the real miracle happened.  Our previous nanny (who left only because she got a full time job, we loved her) texted me and said she was looking for a new family.  And I thought, “Hello, all I have to do is put these two together, raise a bunch of money, and I’m off.”  So Mommies In Need was born.

But can’t I just raise money for another charity that does this?  Nope.  If there is one, I couldn’t find it.  And my vision is very specific.  I want to not only fund the nannies for sick moms, but also provide them with someone who is vetted, background checked, and stamped with the SuperCrazy Mommy seal of approval (as in I have/would leave my own kids with them.)  Because when you are in pain is not the time to have to do interviews and reference checks and try to find the right person.  My long term goal is that if I get a call for a mommy who just got a diagnosis I can move fast and have a reliable nanny to her in a few days.

I know that there is a daunting amount of work ahead of me, I just opened the new bank account and am starting all the 501(c)(3) paperwork, and I actually do have “Grand Plans” for the future.  But already I am amazed at the people who have stepped forward and said they think this is important and want to be a part of it.   I am feeling grateful that everything came together at the right time for me to get off my ass and actually start this thing.  So is it crazy?  Yes.  Is it Super Crazy? Yes!  But I am doing this because I feel like I finally found the good that I can pull out of all the shit I have been through.  This non-profit is my silver lining, my reason for all my difficulties.  I actually have an answer now to the question that plagued me everytime I got hit with another diagnosis or huge crisis.

In Mommies In Need I found my “Why?”

 

*If this blog has ever spoken to you, or made you laugh, or given your day a little lift, please consider donating to MommiesInNeed.  If you can’t donate, please check out the fundraising page and share it on any media platform you can.  Plus as you will see on the campaign page, if you donate $100 or more I’ll Be Your Best Friend! You can also like me on Facebook for more updates on this project.

 

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Wonder J – The Super Nanny

With all the drama surrounding the Corner Market incident I would like to take a moment to give a written standing ovation to my own personal superhero, Wonder J, the Super Nanny!

We have had quite a few sitters, and since I got really sick last fall, I have needed pretty much full time help with the kids.  We went through a few nannies (some great, some not-so-great) until we found Wonder J.  My process for interviewing a new person is to hire them for an afternoon and then have them play upstairs in the kids room while I spy on the monitor (Yes, I’m sneaky like that.)

The first time that J came over and I heard the way she played with the girls it was like the skies parted and I heard the Vienna Boys Choir singing Halleluiah!  She was engaging, entertaining, and was teaching them things, all while being firm but gentle and keeping the toddlers in line.  My own personal Mary Poppins! Although, if I am being honest she could really work on her singing, she sounds nothing like Julie Andrews…

Throughout my surgeries I knew that if Flopsy and Curly were with Wonder J, I didn’t have to worry about them at all.  It took so much pressure off of me to know they were truly being loved and cared for when I could barely get out of bed.  When I got a little stronger but still couldn’t manage them on my own I would go with them on outings and to playgroups.

Before my first surgery I thought I would really miss all the alone time I was used to with my girls, but Wonder J became like family.  She knows just when to back off and let me have time with them and when to step in and take them off my hands because I am exhausted.  And I truly enjoy her company.

Recently she had to go out of town for a month and when she got back the girls were so happy to see her that Flopsy just sat in her lap and pet her hair for an hour.  I have to admit that if it were not super creepy and inappropriate I probably would have done the same thing!

That is part of the reason I was so angry that the owner of the Corner Market immediately turned the blame on her by saying that she is just a “bad nanny” who was on her phone the whole time and let the kids run wild.  I think he was just taking the chance that we didn’t really know what she is like with our kids but he picked the wrong nanny to accuse of being irresponsible!

I have first hand knowledge of how great she is, but I have also heard countless reports from friends and even play center staff about how she is one of the best nannies they have ever seen.  Last week I hosted a playgroup in my house that ended with 5 toddlers sitting around our table having a lunch that she made with all of the moms in the other room talking.  At one point we stopped and realized just how good all the kids were being and were amazed.  I couldn’t do that, I have a hard time keeping my two calm by myself.  But Wonder J is a master nanny and I bow down to her skills.

I just want her to know just how very appreciated she is, and if you have a Wonder J in your life (be it someone you pay, a family member, or friend) make sure they know how special they are to you.

Oh and NO! You can’t have her number, she’s mine…my preciousssss

Righteous Fury!

I have been wanting to start this blog for a long time, but with how incredibly crazy life has been, I have been delaying it over and over again for one reason/surgery/medical crisis/poopy diaper or another.  But then something happened that made me so angry that my chronic fatigue has been momentarily lifted by an epi-pen of righteous fury! (BTW every time you see the phrase “righteous fury” imagine me shaking my fist in indignation!)

My fists of fury are legendary!
My fists of fury are legendary!

Apparently we live in a world where it is now acceptable for an employee working at a supposedly child friendly establishment to scream obscenities at toddlers!

If you want to know the full gory details about exactly what happened, take a look at my post called “Cussing Out Toddlers- Not a Good Business Plan,” but if you haven’t read that, the basics you need to know are that my children went to a small local café, The Corner Market on Greenville in Dallas, were singing a song, probably being a little loud and were told to “Shut the F Up” by an employee, who continued to curse and frighten them.  The owner was made aware of the situation and only suspended the employee for ONE DAY.

I am not normally an angry person, in fact I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that I have been truly steaming mad.  But right now there are flames on the side of my face, breathing, heaving breaths…

So when Sebastian (the hubs) met with the owner, he told him that we felt that his response was unacceptable and that we would be taking to social media so that others would know that this- in my opinion- potentially dangerous man was still working there.  S gave Owner his phone number and said if you would like to resolve this differently please let me know.  In the past few days we have not heard from him.

But he has responded… in the crappiest way possible.  As we spread the word, especially to my mom friends, a lot of people started inundating the CM’s facebook page with negative comments and bad reviews.  In one day their facebook rating went down 1 and 1/2 stars because so many people were upset by finding this out.  So rather than telling his side of the story or offering an apology, Owner deleted all of the comments and disabled the reviews feature on FB.  Seriously go look up The Corner Market on FB- you can’t leave any sort of review.

So we took to Yelp.  I posted a detailed review about what happened, and many of our friends, family, and even a few people we don’t know wrote and gave the Corner Market 1 star.  Almost all of these got taken down (something about the yelp algorithm and too many one star posts in a day being considered spam) But, despite the fact that I am sure he saw them since they were up for several days, still no appropriate response from Owner. The more Owner ignores our attempts to get him to at least acknowledge that cursing at toddlers is generally not a good business practice, the more it fans the flames of my righteous fury (insert fist shake.)   I would have to say that at this point my level of anger and indignation has reached Spinal Tap’s proverbial “11.”

Cussing Out Toddlers- Not a Good Business Plan

I wanted my first blog post to be about something a little lighter, but sometimes you just have to go with the craziness that life throws at you.  And although I swear I am not trying to bring drama into my life, it somehow finds me!  So here is the latest SuperCrazy situation:

Last Friday my nanny, Wonder J, took Flopsy and Curly (my 2 and 1/2 year old twin girls) to a small neighborhood café for dinner- The Corner Market in Lower Greenville for those of you in Dallas.  The girls were singing “London Bridge is Falling Down” and were probably not using their best indoor voices but certainly not in the middle of a stage 3 toddler meltdown.  A male employee from behind the deli counter about 30 feet away yelled directly at them “Yo, Shut the F&&K Up!”

Right now you are probably saying to yourself, “Aw Hell No,” but it gets much worse.  He proceeded to come out from behind the counter, go over to their table, grab all the food that they had already paid for and were still eating and literally say to my toddlers “Get the F&&K out.”  At that point Wonder J told him to back off and stop using that language. He left the room, and my super-nanny got the kids stuff together, the owner’s phone number from another employee who kept repeating, “I’m so sorry,” and started the very long process of herding upset toddlers out of the store.  The Grinch then came back out on a cell phone loudly talking to someone and complaining about Wonder J(using names that I will not repeat here) and was standing next to the door so they had to walk by him to leave. J managed to get the kids past him and into the car safely and while they were scared and very upset, she was able to keep them from totally freaking- all while managing not to haul off and punch the guy in the junk- I swear she really does have super powers!

Now here is were I will admit that we all made a mistake, when she got home visibly shaking and told us the story we should have immediately called the police, but I think my husband, Sebastian, and I were so relieved that everyone was ok that we wanted to just get them safely tucked into bed.  Wonder J spoke to the owner on the phone and told him the story while she was leaving the store and he said that he was with his sick mother and could not do anything to handle it right at that moment.  They agreed to meet up to discuss the issue in person.  Due to scheduling conflicts J and S did not meet with him until Tuesday morning and although we were all very upset for a few days we wanted to give this small business owner the chance to make things right before we made a big stink out of it potentially hurting his business.  We gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that he would apologize profusely and tell us the Grinch had been let go and at least offer to refund us the money from the dinner that got taken from them.  That would  be the smart and moral thing to do if you are the owner of a small community business- right?

Apparently not!  At that meeting he told S and J that he had interviewed the witnesses (the other employees) and they all had different accounts of what happened.  He said that the Grinch did in fact say the F word to my kids, AND ADMITTED IT, but the “witnesses” only heard him say it once.  So he punished him accordingly- with a ONE DAY SUSPENSION.  A grown man working in a restaurant that, oh by the way, has a kids menu and toddler sized table (which they were sitting at) should under no circumstances be allowed to terrify small children by yelling obscenities at them!

The owner- who is clearly not a member of the BBB- then told us that everyone says that Wonder J is a bad nanny, was on her phone the whole time and completely letting Curly and Flopsy run wild.  Wait, wait, wait… so if toddlers are acting like, well- toddlers in a restaurant that has a toddler table- then your staff is allowed to berate them using curse words?!!

And his first instinct was to blame my family rather than taking responsibility. I have absolutely no doubt that J’s version of events is the correct one (in later posts I will talk about how she is my own personal superhero.)  And I know my girls, they love restaurants and very rarely meltdown in them.  But even if they were running up and down the restaurant, drawing in crayon on the walls, and throwing Kix at the Grinch’s face- he still does not have the right to tell 2-year olds to Shut the F Up!  You can absolutely ask a customer to keep their kids quiet or even request that they leave if you feel that the behavior is inappropriate.   But under no circumstances is it acceptable to yell, curse, rip food from the hands of and frighten a patron of the restaurant you work in.  It’s not ok to do to an adult and to do so to a child is in the immortal words of Vizzini , “Inconceivable!”