Sifting and shifting

I.

My home right now is down to five girls. It feels a bit strange after having eight for most of this year. Two girls have left our home in the last week. And their departures were, well, not truly “successful.”

II.

It makes things complicated.

For one of our girls, she was in our home for maybe 10 months. And it wasn’t truly until the last couple months that things started to go downhill. And that’s really sad to me. There’s such an opportunity to leave well and with a good relationship, a lasting one in which we can stay in contact for years to come. But she did not leave in that way. She left by giving girls marijuana as a goodbye present. And manipulating things behind our backs (even though we knew she wasn’t being honest).

And to me, that’s just taking all the progress and social capital you’ve built and throwing it down the drain.

III.

The other girl who left our house this week left after only being in our home for about three weeks. And she had moved to our home from another because of her behaviors. She had some pretty nasty sneaky behaviors. She only needed a couple credits to graduate, however, and so we worked with her on a plan to be able to take two classes online intensively over the course of two weeks, while she finished up her summer classes, to be able to “graduate.”

Her situation is complex, but we do sincerely hope for the best for her and her family. Her parents are super kind and wonderful people, and I hope that things are able to settle down for them and her.

IV.

That’s one of the hardest aspects of this job. You can pour your life into these girls, and they can accept the help for a while, but they can still crash and burn out of here. Or reject your help at the end just because they are determined about getting out.

V.

It feels like sometimes they just think that we see our role in their lives as a job. But we don’t see it really as a job. We can’t. We see it as a lifestyle. A calling, almost. It’s something we choose to live and be, not just do.

VI.

So right now we are left with our five. And they’re all in trouble because of the weed that our former girl gave them. But this is our crew. I love the five of them dearly. I told them yesterday that I’d fight anyone for them to stay with us and be successful. And it’s true.

I hope they understand this isn’t a job to me. We’ve chosen to live this life because we care about them deeply.

One of those days

My attempt to make time to write have been somewhat of a failure recently. Life has been fairly hectic. But I did say that I wanted to write something, even it was only a sentence or two. My goal is simply to write. 

One of our girls leaves our home tomorrow at 4:00pm. Our time with her has seen a lot of ups and downs. I would say mostly ups. I really have enjoyed having her in our home since I think last September, maybe early October.

But recently things have been more frantic and chaotic. And she leaves tomorrow afternoon. I feel sad that she’s leaving because I personally do not believe she’s ready or that she’ll be successful once she leaves here. But her situation is now out of our hands. And so tomorrow we say our goodbyes.

 

There are still firsts

I.

Right now I am sitting a coffee shop in North Omaha with my wife. She’s sitting in a chair reading a book. I’m listening to light bossa nova play over the speakers while sipping my iced cold brew, and dabbling in a book about contemplative photography.

II.

The room is big, echoey, and bright thanks to all the floor to ceiling windows.

III.

Yesterday Sarah and I had the day mostly to ourselves. It’s our weekend off and my mom offered to watch the boys for the weekend. It’s been a few months since this last happened. March I think.

IV.

After Sarah dropped the boys off at my mom’s place she came back and we went out for lunch at a nice local restaurant we like. I always remark during these times about how nice it is for Sarah and I to actually have full conversations without interruptions from our boys. Conversations in which we don’t have to teach to teenagers.

V.

We recently got a cheap bike for Sarah, one that needed a decent amount of repairs, and so I brought it over to the local bike shop to be repaired. After that we headed over to our old neighborhood in Omaha with my bike and Sarah rented a bike so that we could go on a nice afternoon bike ride together.

VI.

We’ve never been on a bike ride together before. It was neat to think that even after fifteen years of being together we can still find fun, simple activities to do together that we’ve never done before.

VII.

After that we went to a local bar as we waited for a table to open up at the Korean BBQ place we made a reservation at. Sarah’s been asking me to go to a Korean BBQ place for probably ten years. It was very good. We ate SO much meat it was crazy. But it was all very tasty. Expensive, but worth it.

VIII.

We came home and watched a movie together. It wasn’t all that great, but it was still fun to be able to be in our living room with the sound turned up on our speakers as loud as we wanted without having the fear we were going to wake up the kids.

IX.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

date weekend

date weekend

date weekend

date weekend

date weekend

Date weekend

Date weekend

Date weekend

Date weekend

Date weekend

Gettin’ the Band Back Together

I.

Every Thursday, just across the Missouri River from Omaha, Nebraska there is a gathering of a couple hundred or so bicyclers who ride together on something called Taco Ride. We start in a parking lot in Council Bluffs, Iowa and bike ten miles along a limestone trail until we reach a small little restaurant in Mineola, IA that serves tacos, fried cheese curds, nachos, and pitchers of margaritas.

I go every week with my friend Jeff. I’ve gone I think nine or ten times so far thus summer. The only week we have missed this summer has been the week we were on vacation at lake Okoboji.

It’s my weekly ritual now.

We usually leave from our place around 7:30 and get there around 8:00. It takes about 45 minutes to bike the ten miles down to the restaurant. Along the way we pass all sorts of people. It’s quite the group of people. I love the cycling community.

Oftentimes our friend Drew comes with us, but he hasn’t been able to make it most weeks this year. But he came last night. And usually when he comes, the night is a lot more unpredictable and therefore more fun.

II.

Drew has recently been getting into drone videography and has started to take some photos on his Canon DSLR. So it was fun to have him come on this ride because he took some quick drone footage of us, and then later we took some pictures on the way back.

III.

The moon was about half full it looked like, so it wasn’t really a great night to take photos of the stars. But ever since this past Sunday when I took some shots, I’ve been wanting to take more.

So we took a few on the trail. I didn’t have my tripod. I didn’t really have a good way of setting down my camera for a good angle. But I still captured a few photos.

IV.

About a mile and a half into the ride back I realized that I didn’t have my phone on me and had left it on the trail. So Drew and I went back for it and eventually found it. Thank goodness. But it added a few miles to the trip back.

V.

Here are some of the photos I took yesterday:

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

taco ride

Spilling the Bucket

I.

Today is one of those hard days because it feels like I’m completely drained of emotional energy. One of our girls is struggling with her behaviors. This morning I confronted her about something and she cussed and yelled at me. She denied everything I was saying about her. Going on and on about all sorts of things.

Now, I was completely prepared for this. None of it was surprising. I probably could have written the script of what she was going to say.

It’s the actual encounter between us as human beings that drains me. On paper it’s nothing. But when you put two humans beings who’ve lived with each other since last September, and she’s talking about how she can’t trust me and how she doesn’t care and she’s cussing at me, yelling, saying I’m setting her up for failure – it does something to me.

II.

Part of this job that makes it vulnerable is that I am constantly rooting for these girls to do well, make good decisions, and build authentic relationships.

So when these girls make poor decisions and show their relationships to be phony and fake, or at best very shallow, it’s disappointing and I’m left with feelings of grief and sadness. I know that’s a constant risk of this job if I’m constantly rooting for them, but there is no other way to do this job. It’s what I signed up for, so these days are guaranteed to happen from time to time.

III.

It’s like our relationship is a big bucket being slowly filled up with experiences and laughter and trust and time. In instances like this today, it feels like she kicked over the bucket and all those experiences, laughter, trust, and time gets spilled out everywhere. And once it has been spilled there’s not really any that can get back into that bucket. You have to just flip that bucket back over and hope to start filling it back up.

IV.

But this girl is potentially leaving as early as next week. And so her behaviors are all over the place. When these kids don’t have a solid plan about their future, their behaviors and attitudes shift and ebb and flow constantly. Very few can handle such uncertainty. And so it is for her. But she thinks she’s for sure getting out of her, and it is very likely. But if she basically thinks she’s getting out of our home no matter what very very soon, what does it matter if she tries getting away with things she knows she isn’t allowed to do? At least in her mind.

V.

So here we are. A tough day. I feel drained. But I stay committed with faith, hope, love, and determination.

So I take a deep breath now. Pushing forward with a peace that comes from a sense of integrity and truth.

 

 

Chugging Along

I.

Saturdays can feel very long around here. Well, weekends in general. But honestly, today wasn’t all that bad. We only had three girls for most of the day, we had an assistant working with us, and Sarah’s feeling better. (She had been sick and in bed for almost two weeks as of a couple days ago.)

II.

It was Omaha Railroad days today. We took them all there today. It was a hot day, but overall it was quite pleasant. Micah’s attention was still as short as ever, but he we were able to move around to different exhibits enough to overall keep him satisfied.

III.

I was thankful today that one of our girls, the girl that has been with us the longest, really acts like a big sister to Micah. She kept her eye on him when he’d run away. She’d convince him to come back to us if he did.

I remember thinking back before we worked at Boys Town that Micah was such a handful it potentially would feel like less work to me if we fostered or even adopted a teenager. Someone that could be a big sibling to Micah. And here at Boys Town, Micah has a number of big sisters that really watch over him well. I am extremely thankful for that.

IV.

If I could, I would go out and take pictures as often as possible. Unfortunately I’m too busy. And even when I am out taking pictures it’s hard because I can’t publish any pictures of our girls publicly, and when I’m with the boys I feel like I can’t stand still long enough to take pictures because I’m always chasing them around.

V.

Tomorrow there is a meet up for Instagrammers from Omaha. It’s a astrophography meet up, something I’ve actually never done and have wanted to do for a very long time. I got a cheap tripod today because my boys ruined my other one. Good timing for something like this. I hope to come back tomorrow night with at least one good photo from the evening.

VI.

This evening, before the girls went to bed, I was contemplative. I had just been joking around with them a bit as we reflected on their behaviors throughout the day. And I thought about really how great this job is most of the time. I still haven’t lost that sense of privilege it is to live with and raise this girls. I love what I do. I love being able to do it with my wife. I love the support that we get in this role. And I love that my sons have big sisters that are with them all the time.

What a life.
I’m so thankful.

Until next time. Peace.

VII.

Pictures from the day:

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Omaha Railroad Days

Processed with VSCO with 7 preset

6AD7CB78-1044-4C8A-AE3A-A8790B3EBFFB.JPG

The Next Step

Writing is so important to me. And I often have blog posts that I want to write, that I end up never writing because I either don’t feel I have the time to focus on it, or I have so much to say I don’t know how to get it all out there.

So I’ve decided to try and write something each day. And not something preachy or intended to be click-bait or necessarily relevant to everyone. Just something from my own heart. Written down. Recorded.

So today, I start this. I assume some posts will be very short. Maybe only a few words. Some days, I’m guessing it could go a few thousand words.

I.

Last night I went on Taco Ride with my friend Jeff. It’s a 20 mile ride in Iowa that he and I do every week along with probably a hundred others (at least). You bike 10 miles on a nice limestone bike path until you get to a small little town called Mineola where there’s a little restaurant that serves tacos, nachos, fried cheese curds, and some great margaritas.

It was our eighth ride of the summer. It was a hot one. When we started the heat index was 108 degrees. But it was worth it.

I always like Taco Ride because it’s a time when we can get away from campus for a while. Talk through work related things as well as just life in general. It’s my favorite time of the week. Hands down. And I’m very thankful for the friendship that I’ve built with my friend Jeff.

After Taco Ride last night we stopped at a donut shop in Omaha that stays open late into the night. Jeff is a total sucker for donuts and other sorts of sweets. And it’s fun to grab food from these little sorts of hidden gems in cities like Omaha or Lincoln.

II.

I’ve been watching a lot of really good storytelling recently. I have so many things I wish I had time to parse out. But the overwhelming amount of things I want to write about has kept me from writing anything, which just seems silly.

I am always trying to watch TV shows with great storytelling or acting. I love a well-told story. It is one of the motivating elements in my life because I find meaning and inspiration from well-told stories.

I recently just finished watching the second season of Handmaid’s Tale. 
I watched the Netflix movie Come Sunday that was promoted by and I want to say made possible because of Ira Glass. I’ve seen it twice now.
I am still working my way through the third season of The Path. 

I saw the movie Won’t You Be My Neighbor almost two weeks ago.
This morning I went to a morning showing of Sorry to Bother You. 

A while back I finished Atlanta and Homeland.
I have watched a bunch of other shows too.

There are so many posts I want to write in relation to these shows and movies. But there’s some quality writing and storytelling in the shows and movies I just mentioned. But there are definitely themes that overlap between them all. And they tug at the deepest levels of my psyche and even identity.

There’s no doubt I’ll at least come back to writing about Handmaid’s Tale and Come Sunday.

III.

Ok. Time to get a bit real. I think this is the sort of writing that I anticipate writing more often, so thanks for following along with me and my life if you’ve made it this far. I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read my words.

IV.

Today we had a day off of work. We did yesterday, too, which is rare. But we have two assistants working with us right now, which is extremely rare, and so we took a vacation day.

Micah is on a special diet right now. It’s supposedly called a “modified Atkins diet” but it is a keto diet. He started off not eating more than 10 grams of carbs a day. As of this past Monday he got bumped up to 15 grams. He’ll eventually make it to 30 grams. And we’ll see what kind of impact it has on his cognitive abilities.

But this diet definitely is stressing me out. Micah almost constantly says he’s hungry. And although he has done a phenomenal job of not sneaking foods he can’t eat, he hasn’t done the best job at being consistent with the foods he is able to eat. Sometimes he likes them, and sometimes he says he doesn’t like them anymore. And it feels like everyday is a constant battle for making sure he gets enough calories while also not eating any carbs.

Going out to eat with him was hard enough before this. But now it feels like it’s not even worth it. What can he eat? Will he eat something he can eat on his diet? Will he throw an epic tantrum?

Who knows?
Not me.

It kind of feels like hell sometimes.

And it makes me irritable. I get annoyed easily by the whole thing. Probably because I don’t really believe it’s going to do anything. We’re putting ourselves through hell for no real reason other than some distant hope that this diet will change the chemistry of his blood and therefore brain in such a way that he will be better behaved and be able to what, be smarter?

They are doing research with rats with this sort of diet now. But I don’t know. It seems like a long shot. Even the geneticist was saying this stuff is above her understanding. She doesn’t keep up with the studies. That doesn’t give me much hope.

V.

But today we went downtown in Omaha. Sarah could tell I was stressed out about it and offered a suggestion that she could take Micah someplace and I could take Ezra. And that really did lift my attitude. So that’s what we did. I took Ezra to a pizza place, and Sarah took Micah to a creole place, where apparently he ate and ate and ate lots of shrimp.

VI.

I’m sure I’ll get into some of my feelings about the difference of parenting Ezra versus Micah. But not today.

VII.

For memory’s sake I’ll quickly write about what we did this evening.

We stopped at one of Omaha’s few sausage shops to look for good sausage or meat sticks for Micah. It’s one of the things that he really likes, and well, our whole little family does. It’s the third sausage shop in Omaha that I’ve been to with Micah in the last week or so.

We miss the sausage shop we lived next to in Chicago.

I had dinner with Ezra at Zios. He was so well behaved. He loved his time with me. He was quiet and thoughtful. We talked about various details of his day. We did a word search that was from his kids meal. He had a big piece of cheese pizza and I got a cheese calzone.

Afterwards we went to Ted and Wally’s a local ice cream shop and got ice cream together. While I was there I noticed they served Keto ice cream, too. So Micah could have some ice cream after all. And he eventually did! (Coffee flavored of all things!)

Ezra and I went to our favorite place in Omaha, Hollywood Candy. He got a light up candy. I got an old fashioned ginger ale.

VIII.

After Sarah put the boys to bed tonight I took a short nap on the couch because I was so tired. She started watching Come Sunday because it was a movie I knew she would find thought-provoking and interesting. I came in when she was about halfway through, and I watched it with her.

That led to a long discussion about heaven, hell, the Bible, Jesus, religion, etc.

We talked about our world today. Evangelicals. Religion in general. Trump. Etc.

And then after about an hour we knew it was probably time for bed. So she went to sleep and my mind was still racing. So I knew that it was time to finally start writing something down on this blog in a way that I know I will keep up with.

Until tomorrow. Peace.

Images from the day:

IMG_2396

IMG_2394.JPG

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

IMG_2426.JPG

IMG_2427.JPG

AEBB8B23-3749-4635-BC49-AB464E8E010E.JPG

IMG_2435.JPG

IMG_2434.JPG

 

Uncorking the bottle

When life is busy I get to the point that I feel like I have to write or I’ll go insane. I doesn’t even have to be about anything substantial. I just need to put my fingers on the keys and let whatever needs to come out, come out.

So what’s on my mind? Let’s find out together.

Staying afloat

The work Sarah and I do is a like a machine. There’s all sorts of moving parts. All of them need to be monitored and maintained for the machine to continue working properly. It doesn’t take much for the machine to break down.

Sarah has been sick since last Saturday. And over the weekend we were working with a new Family Teaching couple, training and helping them prepare to have a home of their own here in a couple weeks. That takes a lot of extra energy and attention. At the same time I was making sure Sarah is ok, while also making sure our boys aren’t destroying the house.

We have a different assistant working with us than we typically have. Which, it’s super great to have the help. It really is. But at the same time, we are definitely missing our normal assistant and how we just gel with her so well. It’s really a bummer that being an assistant is an entry-level position because we’d love to have her for a very long time. But she’s skilled enough that she won’t last too long with us.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, so please don’t read it that way, but sometimes it feels like I’m juggling ten things at once. Despite the extremely hectic week we’ve had, we’ve stayed afloat. We’ve learned how to kick into this mode when one of us is down for the count. But it’s not sustainable.

Last summer we were without an assistant for the entire summer and I’m not sure how we did it, honestly. It was extremely hard. And this time without Sarah being able to contribute much has reminded me of the worst times of that period of our life at Boys Town.

Lifestyle changes – Micah

Last week we started Micah on a very restricted diet. It’s a modified Atkins diet in which he cannot have more than 10 grams of carbs each day. This is an extremely big shift from his typical diet. It has been suggested and approved by his dietician and nutritionist. There’s some exciting studies being done and about to be done regarding this sort of diet (keto) with mice that have Kabuki syndrome, which is what my oldest son Micah has.

The study of genetics right now is exploding. I wish the world knew just how much information we are getting and learning how to decipher these days in regards to epigenetics and genetics in general. It’s extremely specified studies with all sorts of amazing and promising results.

Micah just had his annual cardiology appointment and his genetic appointment. His artery is looking better. It was too large, but it is closer to the size it should be in one year, which is hopeful for the future.

The geneticist said she’d like to have Ezra tested, too. That he displays enough of the visual components of Kabuki syndrome that it seems very possible he would have it. In the end it would help the entire community to better understand the scope and spectrum of Kabuki syndrome and how it presents in various cases.

If he does have kabuki, then I think we’ll also have Sarah tested because she too has a number of the physical symptoms of the syndrome.

I can’t help but wonder what all this will look like in like 20 years. When they are in their 20s. What all will we know? How standard will these tests be? What will we know about what can change about our genetics?

Lifestyle changes – me

With Micah’s big diet shift, I too have made some changes to my diet. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but just never had the motivation or dedication to make the shift. But I have made the shift. I’m committed in a way that I never have been and I’ve been very happy with my mindset and ability to maintain overall. My goal is to lose about 40 lbs. We’ll see how this journey goes. But I’m encouraged by my progress thus far.

My hobbies

Photography.

Photography has been the main one I’ve had over the last few years or so. And I’ve really been trying to keep up with that lately. The culture in our home is finally to the place where the girls want me to take their photo, something I’ve wanted since we moved to Boys Town.

The other night we went on a quick photo walk right around sunset to take some nice portraits of them for putting up on our wall. They were so excited about it. Even the one girl who hates having her picture taken told me that she thinks that the photos turned out really well and that she likes the way she looks in them, which is a huge thing for her to say.

Boosted.

I recently picked up a boosted board. It’s a longboard powered by an electric motor. It was made famous by Casey Niestat on YouTube. It’s been extremely fun for me to ride around on. I use it to get around on campus and also at the various parks and bike paths around Omaha. I hope to use it more and more. I get an intense dopamine kick when I ride my board, and I find myself wanting to ride it all the time. Thankfully I haven’t had a big fall or anything. It can be pretty intense because it goes 22mph. I’ve only gone up to 20mph so far. I eventually will get confident enough to go faster.

Biking.

I’ve been faithful with my weekly bike ride. It’s a ride called Taco Ride. I’ve been every week this summer that I’ve been in town. It’s a bit of a ritual for me now. Bike, get fried cheese curds, maybe some nachos, a couple pitchers of margarita, and then bike back.

I love it. I go with the best friend I have here at Boys Town, and we talk about work and then about life, and a bit more about work once a few drinks have settled in.

I’ve been enjoying myself thus far this summer for the most part. But it’s hard work. And it definitely makes me look forward to the school year starting up again. This is all the stuff I’m apparently wanting to talk about today. Honestly, this will just help me write a more thought-out post for my amseaman.com blog which has been long neglected by me. So thanks for anyone who followed along with this post. Hope you’re doing well. Blogging seems to be dying away. So I appreciate those who still have hung around.

Forgetting to be happy

I like the feeling of being happy, but I sometimes forget to be happy.

It’s not hard for me to experience happiness because my life is filled with blessings. But for whatever reason the pull to be grumpy and annoyed is weirdly strong. I say weirdly because being grumpy isn’t fun. There’s nothing fun about it. And sometimes all it takes for me to not be grumpy is to simply remember to be happy.

How can I forget to be happy? Why do I forget to be happy?

Emotions are so fickle. I’ve written and pondered about this before, but they are frustrating things. It’s amazing how quickly I can go from happy to angry and from angry to excited and from excited to sad and so on.

Anxiety is a happiness thief.
I hate that.

I was sitting with a group of friends on vacation the other day. One of my best friends was there with me and as we were sitting around chatting and laughing I was thinking about how much I enjoyed being there in that moment. I felt like I belonged, I wasn’t just trying to fit in.

One of my best friends was in the mix of people there. He’s been working at Boys Town for over 18 years now. As we talked and laughed about stories of the past, people would mention previous couples who had been here.

Someone mentioned, “You were really close with them, weren’t you?” and he said, “Yeah, I was.” And I immediately went from feeling happy to feeling anxious and like I didn’t belong. Was I just another one of the couples that has come into his life, and will leave eventually, and just be someone mentioned for a few seconds as someone that he used to be close with?

I’m not sure what it is exactly about that thought that makes me feel so uneasy and sensitive and anxious. But whatever it was, it caused me to forget to be happy about the moment I was in. I was with my friends, enjoying life, telling stories. And I forgot to be happy.

The next day I found out that Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. I didn’t know a lot about him, but I know enough that I was still shocked by it. Reminded again how powerful the change of emotions are in shaping our behaviors and decisions.

There are moments recently that have made me very happy:

  • An incredible morning boat ride on lake Okoboji in Iowa. The waves were super choppy and at full speed kept hitting them letting tons of water splash us inside of the boat. We did this for nearly two hours. It was so much fun.
  • Simply being one of the adults at a camp made me happy. Throughout my entire childhood I went to camps and gathering in which I was never in charge. But now I’m one of the adults making the decisions, leading groups of teenagers. And sometimes I would simply pause and take in that fact with deep satisfaction. Whether it be in the dinner line, or as kids walked up to me to ask me if I would drive them on a boat. What a life I have!
  • Seeing Ezra play on the beach and keep himself entertained was so much fun for me. To see how joyful and happy he was made me so happy.
  • Being with my wife, Sarah, and having a group of six teenage girls with us that we together call a family.
  • Having three other guys there with me who understand what this job is like, and the challenges and joys that come from it.
  • Riding in the van hearing the girls laugh while dancing to songs on our Okoboji playlist.
  • Seeing an amazing sunset the first night while I rode on my Boosted board.
  • Great food.
  • Seeing one of my girls win “Camper of the Week.”
  • Taking pictures and video of moments with the girls on the trip.

Those are a handful of moments that helped me remember to be happy. To be grateful.

The struggle is to continue to remember to be happy because there are great blessings all around me.

27834795227_da019c9dcc_k.jpg

I am not a good parent

Today I had my third therapy session.

I realized after two therapy sessions that I hadn’t said anything really critical about myself yet. It felt like I was potentially going to therapy to stroke my own ego and to get another person, someone I am telling myself is an objective and learned voice, to tell me I’m a good husband, a good parent, a good employee, a good person.

But I don’t _actually_ want that.

So I told my therapist that.

After meandering for a while, I finally found the voice inside myself that I feel the most insecure about. The voice that says,

“I am not a good parent.”

Cognitively I don’t think I believe this to be true.
But I feel the pressure to never let that be true constantly. 

It has something to do with control. I can identify that. It also has something to do with the weight that I give to the voices around me. I give too much time, energy, and thought to the opinions of people around me, especially to those that are complete strangers.

I often feel my kids are out of my control. And I think deep inside I tell myself that because of that, I am not a good parent. When we are out and about and my kids throw temper tantrums, it feels like every person is telling me this with their glances. At dinner when they refuse to stay in their seats, I feel like I am a failure. I can’t even get them to sit down for more than five minutes at a time. I feel this especially when we have guests over.

So my task these next couple weeks is to pay attention to this voice. Where am I hearing it loudest? Where is it coming from? When and where do I hear it the loudest?

It’s so hard to cognitively know something isn’t true true, but continually try and override the negative tapes in my head that seem to play on repeat in the background.