Wednesday Wonderings : Parenting- The good. The bad. And the step.

Lonnie and I did lots of driving and talking over our long weekend getaway. One of our topics was parenting. We started by musing about “good parents” and “bad parents” and how people who achieve the most success in life so often seem to come from bad childhoods. It almost seems like hands-off parents (for whatever reason…self-involved, substance use, emotional issues, hyper career-focused, etc.) build children with greater resiliency and ability to overcome adversity. So what does that mean!? We didn’t figure it out.

 

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LOL, He’s actually just focused on driving, but if the pic fits…….

 

We discuss parenting a lot. Probably because we have never, and will never, raise a baby of our own and therefore never worked through the trials and tribulations of co-parenting as equals. I think equality is the main difference between step-parenting and raising a child together as biological or adoptive parents. No matter what your “arrangement” is, or what you PRETEND it is, one of you is “the real parent” who holds the power. It’s a rare person who can come into that scenario and put their ego aside for the greater good of the family. Lonnie comes very, very close. And I work hard to make sure he knows I value his input and opinion when it comes to decisions about the kids. BUT, while it is never really said out loud, we both know at the end of the day, they are my and my ex’s kids and we have all the decision power. Because Lonnie and I are humans, that does cause us some “issues” (pronounced isss-YOUsssss) from time-to-time.

I am fairly certain I would suck as a step-parent and when I divorced, I vowed not to enter into a step-parenting situation. It would be so hard to have no true parenting power coupled with the awareness that everyone involved, including the kids, knows it. There is no built-in bond like there is between a parent and child; so that bond has to be painstakingly cultivated while at the same time establishing a sense of order in the home.  Not everyone is willing, or able, to create that tenuous balance. In fact, I would even bet MOST people aren’t able to make it happen because there are so many emotions and factors at play. There’s a reason “You’re not my dad!” has legendary meme status!

So, what is the answer to harmonious step-parenting? Well, we DID figure this one out!! There is no answer because there is NO SUCH THING! Humans are built to interact and have conflicts and “issues” and power struggles and trials and tribulations and “discussions” and ARGUMENTS! AND ALL of these seemingly negative interactions are actually positive because they are how we learn from each other to grow as people and enrich our relationships.

Have you mastered step-parenting? Failed epically? Kinda-sorta got the hang of it? Think I am way off base with anything here? I love a good discussion… argument… power struggle….

L-I-V-I-N-G with Seasonal Affective Disorder. In Maine.

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LOOK HOW FUN!!!! Winter is JUST THE BEES KNEES, RIGHT!!!!??? Uh, no. Actually, I have a long history of winter blues that subjects those around me to endless complaining about feeling cold, and not wanting to do anything except snuggle under a blanket on the couch. This year my ‘winter blues’ seemed worse than usual (…..perhaps there is a connection to my father dying the weekend before Christmas… just a theory 😉 )
So I took a quiz. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But then I noticed the quiz was on a ‘phototherapy light’ website, so I figured they probably diagnose everyone with SAD to sell more lights! So I searched for more appropriate diagnostic tools and found another, more lengthy, test from a more legitimate source. And it said I had Seasonal Affective Disorder. To which I thought, “Meh, it probably says everyone has everything.” So I took a test for depression, and then one for anxiety. It said, “No ma’am. No depression or anxiety in that little brain of yours. Ya just got the ole SAD.”
So what are the “textbook” treatments?
Drugs: No thank you. And thankfully, my home remedies have been working so I don’t even need to consider that route!
Exposure to sunlight: CHECK!! Even though they are INSULATING and keep the rooms warmer, we decided natural sunlight was worth the little extra we may pay for heat this year.
Light therapy: Open to it if needed, but I think I’m good!
Psychotherapy: All set thanx.
My treatment regime prescribed by myself, and Google…
After lots of reading and, previously learned knowledge having been in the mental health field for over 20 years now, I know the importance of exercise to mental health. I also know how few people actually follow through with this, so it’s important to me that I practice what I preach. So I exercise almost every day.
Several articles discuss the importance of engaging in activities, particularly winter activities, to find enjoyment during winter months. So, I stopped saying (aka whining) “No… it’s too cold and yucky” when Lonnie says, “Hey, wanna go _______?” We started Friday night board games, a new tradition I am LOVING!!!! I have PLANS to see Black Panther Friday night with friends and I WILL GO EVEN IF IT’S COLD OUT!! (I said it here so now I have to!)
  • I’ve hiked!
  • I’ve snow-shoed!
  • I’ve cross country skied (for about 6 feet)!
  • I’ve walked the dogs!
  • I’ve shoveled!
  • I’ve started a gratefulness/21 Days of Happiness journal
  • I’ve stopped listening to news all day
  • I’ve STARTED listening to Oprah’s Soulful Conversations instead of news! (Amazingly inspiring and thought provoking!)
  • I’m watching what I eat and drink and even doing a Whole30 (or 20) (maybe 8) (I’m on day 8 😉 )

We (speaking of “we,” having a super-supportive partner who isn’t afraid to tell you when you need to get your shit together and your ass off the couch doesn’t hurt!) are in full-on SAD battle mode and it’s WORKING!!! I feel great, and when I don’t, I recognize it, and FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT— SEE ABOVE!!

::::Drug commercial tagline alert::::I may have SAD, but it doesn’t have ME! LOL Had to.