Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I got an email from a reader questioning my choice to take two of my daughters for pedicures on their day off yesterday. I just want to take a moment to assure you that I'm not squandering money on spa days. The little nail salon by me offers specials on Mondays and I really wanted to do something special for Lexi especially, who breaks down crying several times a week, but won't complain or ask for a thing. Yes, I'm aware that I can spend special time with my kids without spending even the little bit that the pedicures cost. But sometimes, a little something that puts a smile on my kids' faces in the midst of turmoil and pain is worth more than you might imagine. And, in case anyone was wondering, I've gotten many gift cards for restaurants and stores, as well as donations of money, with the instructions, "Please use this to do a little something for your kids", or "Please use this to put a smile on the kids' faces and add a little fun back into their lives."

I actually haven't touched a penny of the donations, but would like to use some of the money to have some repairs done to my bathroom. When my ex installed the shower some time ago, he didn't do a great job and it has been leaking for years. The walls are spongy and covered in black mold. I've wanted to fix this for some time, but the money just hasn't been there to do it.

Some of my best friends in the world, Jen and Chris, are going through some tough times right now too. Jen and I have been friends since our freshman or sophomore year in high school. I think we met when I made her laugh in our history class. And I met her husband, shortly thereafter because Jen and Chris were highschool sweethearts. Chris has been out of work for over a year. Thankfully, he's had some consulting work and Jen has had some babysitting jobs to keep them afloat, but I know that it's been hard. Anyway, Chris does this kind of work on the side so I asked him if he had time between interviews to fix my bathroom because I'd much rather the money go to them than some random company.

I clean it with bleach often, but the shower needs to be replaced (you might remember back when I wrote about how my kids insisted the shower door just fell off with no help from them.) And now the drywall needs to be replaced because it's spongy and moldy.

In fact, the walls are so bad, that this happened this weekend.

Jackson, who can be the most compassionate, awesome, caring, funny, wonderful kid, can also be just plain horrible. And, unfortunately, his behavior has gotten worse over the past several weeks. I don't know if it's the meds he's on or what exactly is going on with him right now, but he got so mad at Clayton on Saturday because Clay didn't want to play a game with him, that Jackson ended up trying to beat the snot out of Clay. Thank God I was right there to intervene and I took all the punches and kicks. Sunday, Jackson destroyed the boys' bunkbeds (My friend, Eric, is on bunkbed rebuilding duty), took a knife and cut up his mattress and decapitated some stuffed animals. This morning, again, Jackson got bent out of shape over nothing and tried to strangle Clay, lifting him off the floor with his hands around his throat. Jackson's back in the hospital inpatient again. This is his third admission in a month.

I don't even know what to do. I hate not being able to fix him. I hate seeing Dr. Jekyll turn into Mr. Hyde. And when he's Mr. Hyde, there is no reasoning with him. There is no taking a minute to stop and think. There is no recalling everything he's learned in the hospital. There's nothing but rage. And I hate walking on eggshells with my stomach in a knot, wondering what will set him off next. It's scary. And with everything else going on, I feel like a cartoon that's hanging off a cliff and someone keeps peeling my fingers away, one at a time. I don't have many fingers left.

And it doesn't help when family members bring up the times when I've lost it and yelled at Jackson. I have a fair amount of patience, but everyone has a breaking point. When faced with this behavior day in and day out for years, when doing it all on my own (because even before I was divorced, my ex was never around and all the care and discipline of the kids was my responsibility), when combining that with other stresses and five other kids who need attention, it's hard to not lose it sometimes. But there's really no reason to bring it up and make me feel crappier than I already do. Believe me, I beat myself up enough for the times that I've yelled and said horrible things like I'm ready to put him up for adoption. I would take it all back if I could. I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with. I'm trying. I'm not perfect. Not even close. But I love my kids and I'm doing my best.

I know I'll have people tell me that I shouldn't write this here. This isn't the place for family problems. But I'm writing it anyway. I'm writing mostly because I know there are people out there with children who have difficult behavior problems and I know that those parents probably feel like failures. If Jackson was my only child, I'd feel certain that his problems were 100% my fault and I was a complete failure as a parent. That's the thing about ADHD, depression, and other mental illnesses. They're treated like something bad. If your child had diabetes, you wouldn't try to hide the condition. You wouldn't think you were a horrible parent if your child had diabetes. But it's different with mental illness. Since I have five other children who don't act like Jackson does, I can see that it isn't just poor parenting on my part. But my heart breaks for parents going through similar situations and believing that it's all their fault.

I just want parents of kids who are struggling with similar issues to know they're not alone. I understand how it affects the whole family in profound ways. I know how it drains you emotionally until there's nothing left. You're not alone.

I understand if someone who donated money is concerned with my use of it. I may not agree, but I understand. I'm sorry if I came off sounding nasty. That wasn't my intent. I'm just tired. So tired. Like my title - I'm drained. I don't know how much more I can handle without slipping under. I hope I didn't make anyone mad.


Lisa said...

Oh my goodness!!! My jaw dropped when I read that. Just the unfairness and judgmental attitude of some people. I know that when a person blogs that for some reason others take that as an invitation to take your inventory and give advice or admonishment, but it just gets stupid!!!! I was taught that when you give to bless someone else it should NEVER be with strings. I would never think twice about what you do with money donated. You can't please everyone, and unfortunately the naysayers are usually the most vocal. Keep your chin up. You didn't do a thing wrong, nor do you have to justify every penny you spend or ask other people how you should spend. If you take on all these strangers (or even friends and family) opinions, you are going to wear yourself down and start questioning every decision you make. That's just not right.

I have been very leery of putting much personal info in my blog just because of that reason. So afraid that others would take that as an opportunity to judge me or my situation. You have to do what you think is right and trust God to carry you and your family through. If somebody doesn't like how you decide to conduct your life and the raising of your children, then they can just get the heck on...get lost...whatever...You keep trusting God and He will raise up others (more than the one you might lose) to take their place.

Praying for you. You just don't be listening to the ones who only THINK they know. When the truth is that no one really knows anything but you, your babies, and the Lord.

pigbook1 said...

I'll admit, i had a gut reaction similar to whomever emailed you. The difference is I then remembered that sometimes what you need is what you can do. I can think of the many times I have chosen to do the thing I needed and skipped a meal (or some other money responsibility) and I don't regret it.
Also, if someone gave me money I would expect that I should use it for what is best for my family and I AM THE JUDGE OF THAT not someone who reads my blog.
All in all I hope you don't let haters rain on your parade.

Enjoy the moments that you can find during this hard time. Good luck, my thoughts are with you and your kids

Lisa said...

I am sorry. I didn't address the post about Jackson in my previous comment, because the person spouting off about your pedicures made me so mad I didn't finish reading the blog before I commented. Regarding everything going on with Jackson, I just want to say that I am praying for you and for him and your whole family. God can make a way where there seems to be no way. He can completely turn the entire situation around. Just trust Him and seek Him on it. I am so sorry this is happening to your son and your family. But I know God loves you so much and He loves your baby and doesn't want him to be in such pain. Even though you don't know me, I promise you that I will be intervening for you and yours in my prayer time.

Lyttlethingsmttr said...

Dawn - YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER TO THOSE PEOPLE. You know what is what. People should be ashamed of themselves, and that is all I am sayin on that.

My "lil demon child" is only 3 but the years ahead promise to try my soul. Today(and twice yesterday) he peed on , yes ON the dog, of course the dog moved, the couch and the carpet, of course did not. I have crayons and pen marks all over my freshly painted walls(but I am thankful they are solid and in one piece) He has stuffed only God knows what in his dvd player, so I have been watching way more(is one too many???) ummmi zooomi than I would like. I could go on for days . . . I hope some of this amuses you, a small smile is all I aim for. Like I said, my child is only 3 but I am fearful of the behavior ahead (there are underlying reasons I won't go into here) and want you to know I have nothing, yes NOTHING but admiration and respect for you as a Mother. And I am buying both your books. I hope your Wednesday goes better than your Tuesday. And you know what you rude emailer . . .? Sometimes it's the little things that matter most to our kids. (and I am sticking mhy tongue out now)

Karen Bassford said...

That is exactly the type of thing we wanted you to use it for. Black mold is not good for you and you all need to stay as healthy as possible with all of the other stresses you are going through. I would think it would help your spirits to be able to bring this area back to normal. Go for it!

There are probably other donations that are still coming your way. I have been waiting since the day the donation button came on your blog to have funds transferred into my PayPal account to be able to send them to you. Hang in there, Dawn, we love you!!

Amanda said...

BIG BIG HUGS to you Dawn. :( I don't have a clue what to say and wish I knew, to make it better. Thinking of you often.

Kat said...

First of all, no one has a right to question what you do to have fun with your kids, how you spend your money even if it does come from donations! Don't even listen to those kinds of people. They obviously have nothing better to do than judge someone else doing the best they can!! I applaud you for a spa day!!! I am a single mom and have been unemployed for nearly 2 years. All three of my kids not only suffer from depression, anxiety, ADHD, but a fatal genetic disease. Draining doesn't even describe life on most days and no one will ever understand the energy it takes to keep a sick and tired family together. A mom is the shock absorber and it hurts...it sucks. Sometimes, even though there is NO money, you just have to get out of the house and pretend to be normal! I wish I could take all this crap away from you. Please don't listen to those critical voices. They have no clue how this feels. I am in your corner...be kind to yourself Dawn. This is tough but no one could do any better with these circumstances than YOU!! Your kids need you! Don't get down, don't give up!!! I love your blog, I love the job you are doing. When I grow up I totally want to be YOU!!

Dawn said...

I understand if someone who donated money is concerned with my use of it. I may not agree, but I understand. I'm sorry if I came off sounding nasty. That wasn't my intent. I'm just tired. So tired. Like my title - I'm drained. I don't know how much more I can handle without slipping under. I hope I didn't make anyone mad.

mandyb said...

I donated some money...and i am MOST happy for you to treat your children now and then....hey we do....its good for us all!!!
go for it...and DO NOT feel you have to justify it....we DONT have to....neither should you!!!

READERS who feel like they are WORTHY enough to judge.....see that little X button top right.....HIT IT...we do not want to hear what you have to say!!!!

**sending cyber hugs to you and your clan **

Suburban Correspondent said...

I'm thinking it's the drugs, Dawn. Insist on a change.

And no parent is perfect, and all kids get yelled at. You know that, of course; but you can't help second-guessing yourself when things go wrong. I know.

Elisabet said...

You're right; other people are struggling with children with ADHD and depression and a host of other mental illnesses. It shouldn't be a secret. Talking about it helps other people, AND it helps you too! And good for you taking some time with your daughter to let her know she's special and you care ;)

Krista said...

As we all know, there will ALWAYS be someone to complain about how or why we made a decision to do ANYTHING. I know it doesn't make it hurt any less, but, you've seen the notes, you've seen the mail, and you know your family best. You know your kids the best - and by golly, taking a small amount of money to do something to relax and show your girls that they are important too is NOT a crime, a horrible thing to do, or a bad decision. I agree with the poster who said that she's done things sometimes that she wanted and given up something "needed." It's about balance - and, let's face it, everyone's definition of balance is different. you NEED time out - and your girls needed to know that they weren't lost in the shuffle too.

Don't be too hard on yourself - those who gave have done so b/c we want YOU to make choices about what your family needs. And, I don't think anyone who gave doesn't trust you to make those choices.

Is it possible to have your blog manager person (p.s. BLESS her - I am SO SO glad she put up that post!) anyway - can she maybe field your comments/email? That way, you could avoid that crap all together?

If not - I get that - but - know that there are lots and lots of us out here supporting you from afar. I hope that those who are so critical of you are equally critical of themselves.

Thoughts and prayers to you and your kids - I know you're going to come out the other side better.

~ Elly ~ said...


you don't need me to tell you anything. But just know that you are amazing. There are things that are just beYOND your control right now and you are going through this with grace, even if you feel everything but.

SubWife said...


I am in complete awe of you. You are such an inspiration. I too have a child who is sweet and funny and caring. And he too can be aggressive, cruel and mean when he's "In the mood". I don't know how to deal with it at times. Heck, I rarely if ever know how to deal with it. And I too have said things I am not proud of. I am worried about the future, both our family's and his. he's only five. But then I think of you, with six kids, by yourself. and you are somehow managing. So that keeps me going and calms me down when my son is once again trying to push my buttons. You are doing great. Hang on. There must be some higher purpose to all of this, you know part of the big plan. And thank you for sharing. It's great to not feel that I am alone.

Von said...

Be careful about that mold. Bleach doesn't kill the spores, you need a different cleaner. We used Benefect--it's all-natural. At least that's what the mold guys told us. Hope this helps.

Jill said...

Just want you to know that I totally understand if you use money to cheer up your kids. I agree with others who said that when you donate money, you can't put strings on it or decide how it should be used. That's up to you, and I strongly believe that little treats here and there are totally needed to help with mental wellbeing. That's why even though we don't have a lot of money right now, I still buy things like ice cream or go out to eat with my hubby and son. If you don't have treats like that, then it's hard to keep a positive attitude. I would hate to think you feel judged for how you spend ANY of the money -- it's not for us to judge. Plus, like you said, some people gave you money specifically for having some fun, and you should feel free to use it for that and tell us about it without feeling bad. (And my motto lately has been "Judge not that ye be not judged." And I'm trying very hard to live by that.) I just pray for your family every night. My best wishes to you and your children!

And I'll Raise You 5 said...

Dawn, I echo those who say don't listen to the naysayers and that a gift is a gift, freely given, agendas and judgments not included in the gift wrapping.

Pedicures, dinner out, movies...and a mold-free bathroom, and health insurance for your kids, and whatever else you use the money on is YOUR BUSINESS.

I'm glad you wrote everything in this post. Those of us with similar children, whose anger scares us, especially those of use with large families who have to balance caring for a child like that and caring for the rest of them, completely understand everything you said and even if you were simply venting, you are at the same time validating what so many of us experience. You do it with laughter and with tears.

Do whatever you can for your kids; you are a great mom.

V1nce said...

With all that you have to worry about you shouldn't have to worry about the small stuff, don't let it get you down! We're not done yet either.

dhaynes said...

I can't believe the nerve of some people, hate mail, really? They need to get a life. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. They need to walk a mile in your shoes before they judge! I would bet they haven't donated anything (not that that matters), but I have and I'm honored that you would do something special for the girls. That's what it is for, so thank you for spending it in that manner! Yes, I too would think getting the mold out of the bathroom would be a good thing. YOU are the only one who know where the money should go and I'm sure you'll do with it what you see fit, after all that's why we gave it to you in the first place! As for Jackson, I continue to pray for his (and your family's) health and welfare. Lots of hugs to you Dawn, keep your chin up!

Mandy said...

You know what Dawn? Take my $$ and go buy a new shirt or something just for you. It's no ones business how you spend your money. You need emotional help too, and retail therapy is definately involved in that!!

Jennifer Foster said...

OH MY STINKIN' HECK! SHAME SHAME SHAME on that rude person who criticized how you will spend your money. Dawn, I donated money so that you WILL take your kids to sonic or get pedis or fix your bathroom. That's what brings joy to my heart reading about!

Glad I don't know who that was because I'd bite her. Among a few choice words, and if she's reading this, I hope it comes back to her ten fold. SHAME!

Furthermore, a gift is a GIFT. Nobody should dictate what you do with your GIFT. You are doing nothing wrong!!

*stepping off my podium now*

PamGram said...

You are so AWESOME.You are doing exactly what I would expect of you.Having your bathroom repaired by someone who also needs help and who you can trust. You are the best at manageing money and your family's well-being.I figure the donations should be used for paying bills,food,the physical and emotional needs of the kids(pedicures and pizza),and wine,rum,and tequila for Mom,lol. You're a smart lady and I trust you know what's best. {{hugs}}........Pam

Aloha Ya'll! said...

I donated, and then I read the post about the pedicures, and it never once occurred to me to think that you shouldn't be doing that. Your kids are having a really rough time, and if the money we sent is used to make them feel better (whether it's through pedicures or medication) then so be it. Everyone who donated (and those who didn't but want to judge how it is spent) needs to let go of it - it's not their money now, so it's not their concern. We gave YOU the money and it is up to YOU how it gets spent. If you want to go out and buy thousands of dollars in ice cream, then so be it. Bless you Dawn for also doing something for the kids who are quietly struggling as well.

Michelle said...

How incredibly annoying! I just had to throw an additional $20 in just to be TOTALLY CLEAR that this money is to be used on something for YOUR mental health. And just to be TOTALLY CLEAR, this includes:
1. Whatever you think is necessary
2. another pedicure
3. gas to get to the hospital
4. ice cream - I believe ice cream solves many problems
5. a manicure to match your cute toes
6. a margarita (I believe in this like I do ice cream)
7. a cheap mattress for Brooklyn to sleep BY your bed and not IN your bed
8. Whatever you think is necessary
9. Whatever you think is necessary, or
10. Whatever you think is necessary

To be honest, I would have blown any money I've donated on WAY MORE FRIVOLOUS things than quality time with my mom (I don't have kids). So I love that you are choosing quality time ways to spend your OWN money. If other readers would like their donation spent on specific things, maybe they can donate with specific instructions. I hope I've helped them out.

You see, my mental health is taken care of by laughter. I find that the more laughter I have in my life, the better off I am. Sometimes even laughter is a big ask and I just need a smile. Your blog has brought that many times and we are all just trying to pay back for the smiles and laughs.
To be honest, I don't like thinking about paying for insurance or a mortgage and I'm not thinking about that now. I just donate because I want to pay back what you've given. At that point, it's up to you to do what you want.
To quote you, 'I hope I didn't make anyone mad' either :)

Syar said...

Dawn, My prayers go out for you and your family. Our family is going through something similar with my 14 year old daughter who has rages. I'm at a breaking point and going to see a family counselor tomorrow who will hopefully get her in. It is shame that I feel that she is so out of control and I have devoted my life to being a good mother. It's how I define myself. Thank you for pointing out that it is more then parenting. I am ashamed now that it took such a major incident for me to pull myself together enough to seek help. I am in a place where my family and friends are far away, so it feels a little like a blessing to know there are other parents that might know what I'm going through.

msprimadonna67 said...

You go ahead and just keep on swimming, even if it feels like you're fighting against the current to keep your head up out of the water. You know what's best for you and your kids. If you're able to do something small that brings a little smile to your kids' faces, and to yours, it's well worth it. I have yet to meet the mom who's got all the right answers (even though I know some who think they do!). We are all only capable of doing our best at any given moment. Let that be enough.

Agnes said...

So sorry you are dealing with people questioning your judgement on top of everything else. And thank you thank you thank you for posting the personal stuff. This is the voice that is not acknowledged. We've all lost it. We've all yelled. We've all, at some point, said something we regret. Anyone who says otherwise - about parenting or anything - is in denial.

For the record, even if a child has a physical illness like diabetes (my daughter has epilepsy, asthma and other health issues), I do sometimes think it is because I am horrible parent. And people (family members are the worst) do sometimes say it is because of my parenting. It isn't. It really isn't.

Keep that voice: you are doing your best. You are as good as you can be.

er said...

I would like to recommend a book to you. I know you don't have much time to read, but this book could make all the difference. It's called Infinite possibilities by Mike Dooley. It really helps to turn your life in a positive direction. I know you are an optimist and think positive thoughts most of the time, but with this book you can do it even more effectively. I've been reading it myself and it has helped me a lot, so I just wanted to share. Oh, and I've bought both your books too, they are awesome. Thank you so much. And special thanks for this post, it was a right thing to write it.

Kim said...

People just amaze me sometimes. (and that's all I'm going to say - because if I say anymore I'll probably say something mean and nasty!)

As for Jackson - I'm going through the same thing right now with my son. He is the sweetest most wonderful child - until he flips. I'm lucky that he's only 4 so the punches, kicks, and throwing of things isn't horrible - yet. We are working on his issues, and I'm praying that we can have them resolved before he gets to be much bigger.

So thank you - thank you for posting about the hard stuff. It does make me realize that I'm not alone (even though some days I feel like I am).

I'll continue to pray for you and your family.

Mokki said...

Okay, I put a few dollars your way, I'm not gonna tell you what you should or should do with them. But I do recommend that you use them to get yourself the biggest bucket of icecream and toppings of choice, bribe your eldest to keep an eye on the other kids, close the door to your bedroom and eat every bit of it while crying or yelling or doing what you need to keep sane. That will be worth every penny spent!

Mel said...

Ok, I don't comment very often, but I do have a few on this one ( yes it was that moving LOL ) First: people are judgemental, we can't help it. Thats the human nature, however, it does not mean that they are right and you are wrong. Your decesion to take the girls for a pedicure was a sound one. There is no reason for you to feel bad about that. The person who e-mailed you should be ashamed of themselves.
Second: Family will always say things that make you upset. I have my family split into categories, there are people I call and talk to when I want the don't hold back, tell me the honest truth responses. Others I call when I want to be coddled, and others that are the logical answers. I have learned over the years that there are some members of my family I can't talk to about somethings, and others I can say anything to. You should try to do this with yours, it does help.
Third: I have an ADHD kid, I have been dealing with my own ADHD and depression as well. It's not easy, and anyone who tries to tell you it is, well, their nuts. Do not let other peoples words shape your day. I know that it's hard, and I know that you almost can't help letting comments affect you. But try, also, for me, trying to focus on 1 small problem and fix it, helps alot. When there is so much going on that you doon't know where to start, sometimes address and resolveing 1 thing eases some of the tension. Don't be afraid to say what you think, and mean what you say. And last of all, Sister, this is your blog, you write what ever you want, no one can tell what to write about, and what not to. PERIOD. No one has that control over you. Hang in there, we all enjoy you, and are ready listeners..

Anonymous said...

I link to your blog but haven't checked here in a really long time. I'd just like to comment on what you're going through with Jackson. I'd like to start by saying THANK YOU for sharing your experience. My 8 yr old was diagnosed with ADHD last May & what you have described sounds a like how my house used to be. I would definitely say that it sounds like Jackson is not on the right meds or right combination of meds. My little man was put on Adderall and it just wasn't enough. While it was keeping his butt in his seat and his mouth shut at school it was wearing off by the time he was home. Giving him a dose in the afternoon didn't do any good because it just kept him up all night. Even the Adderall while it works great and wears off by afternoon was keeping him up way too late with only the morning dose and the violence was awful. So Tenex was added to the mix in the afternoon and evening and it has thankfully cut back on the violent out bursts and now when he starts to get upset about something I can get him to think more rationally. When he starts flying off the handle we know that the dose he's on isn't working right so it gets adjusted but the Tenex has been the savior of my sanity.

I hope that things get better for you. I know that changes in the household and being a single parent are not easy. My husband was KIA in 2005 and we still deal with the effects of it (ie the depression) even today 5 1/2 yrs later. *big hugs* Take care of you and do what you feel is best to cheer everybody up and bring smiles to faces.

Anonymous said...

Oh, people like complained about how you spend your money..they don't understand. They think it's perfectly fine to tell a child that you have no money, therefore the child can never get anything. Well, they claim it. They don't live by it. I've seen people put me down for trying to treat my children. Turn around and they do the same thing. Sure can point the finger, but can't live the life.

I hope Jackson gets better soon. Switching meds can just toss a person.

*hugs* Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Damned if you do, damned if you dont. Do you know what I think? If you hadn't done that special treat the same person who complained about it would have been on here complaining how you ignore the rest of your kids and never do anything for them, its just several that get attention. Bugger the complainers, they don't have to read your blog they can go and troll elsewhere

Sharon said...

Oh Dawn! My heart aches for you and your family. I'm so sorry you are having to go through this whole ordeal. Just remember, you don't have to justify your expenditures. I think (I know actually from experience) it's best to treat oneself to something special every once in a while. Your girls have held up well through all this and deserve a little one on one quiet time with you. Sorry some people have to be such snots.

Erika said...

Um, it's YOUR money now, you can do whatever you want with it!! :)

You are a responsible adult...I'm guessing you aren't going to blow the money on pedicures and wine (although you might want to)!

I'm so sorry you are going through all of this.

RubyT said...

Ignore that ingrained punitive attitude our culture has toward people who aren't wealthy. We seem to think that not being wealthy means a person is entitled to no pleasures, no matter how small--that they must atone for not having been born with a silver spoon. You are the best judge of what your family needs and a gift, freely given, is yours to do with as you please. I never questioned the pedicure for a moment--it seemed the perfect way for y'all to spend some girl time and take a little time-out from the stress. {hugs to you and yours}

(PS: I had one of those ragey boys, too. Not fun at all. Mine's in basic training right now.)

Sherry said...

The meds may be doing it to him. I have a child that I learned was sensitive to red #40 food dye via the Feingold diet and since we've taken her off of it, if she gets any, it sends her into orbit with anxiety and hyperactivity. We have had to switch prescription meds 3 times due to the red #40 and even after having her flagged as allergic. Hang in there, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Unknown said...

Reading about Jackson reminded me of my younger self. It WILL get better. I was that angry, hurt, rage-filled child. I am now a happy, well-adjusted, successful young adult. When I was going through the roughest times, the one thing that hurt worse than anything is my mother didn't show me as much affection as normal. PLEASE, hug him. Kiss him. Tell him you love him. Even if he doesn't respond. I don't see this being an issue that even needs to be mentioned because your life is about your children and you've got this parenting thing down pretty well, but I just wanted to put that out there as someone who has been in Jackson's shoes. I will never forget how much my older siblings (I'm the baby of my family) told me that they loved me when I was in therapy. THAT is what I remember more than anything. The love. The hugs. The time spent. The support. It will all work out. :)

Anonymous said...

My jaw dropped when I read that someone had complained about you taking the girls for a pedicure. How dare someone know better than you what your girls need, and how dare they put conditions on their donation.

All I can say is please hang in their Dawn, Jackson is a sad, disturbed little boy at the moment, he lashes out at you because he knows he can trust you.

Trust you to always love him, no matter what and sooner or later this will sink in and you'll get your little boy back.

And please take care of yourself, I know it's hard with all that is going on, but you deserve a break as well.

If I think you'd do it, I'd suggest taking some of that money and hiring a nanny/au pair for a month and giving yourself a small holiday and a rest.

Love from Australia.

Unknown said...

No matter what you do peopel will always have something to say about it. The obvious advice is to let it roll off your back but that is not so easy to do when it is your parenting people attack.

Mental disease is in NO WAY a reflection on parenting. Accusing a parent of making their child have ADD, BiPolar, depression etc only shows how far spread the ignorance of such matters are.

Sharon said...

Dawn, I'm sorry for the comments. If the persons wanted strings attached then they should have kept their piddley dollars. Preventive meds are the best and as I saw it that's what you did with you and your girls. Wonder if when those people donate to the Red Cross or some other worthy org. they tell them what to do with the 5 cents they gave. I didn't give much but I gave it freely. When you give something it's free not with strings. Sounds like some people should grow up and live in the real world awhile then those nasty comments would disappear. I gave for me, it made me feel good and like I was making a difference. Okay for me hardly ever commenting, I sure have wrote a book.lol.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

Oh my gosh!!! How scary for you, to see all the anger manifest itself into violence. I am so sorry. I am still praying for you guys and the docs, so they can figure out a good solution. And I whole heartedly believe you need to spend money on making kids happy. :) I mean, seriously, if we didn't have to spend money to make our kids happy, Christmas would be WAY less stressful. :) You know what's in your account, and where's there's wiggle room. So you do what you feel is best. God bless.

Billie Jean said...

Dawn, I just HAD to create an ID so I could post a comment.

I too have 6 kids, 1 who has been through several hospital admissions and eventually, a inpatient residential program halfway across the country. Stick with it - there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My son is now, 2 years later preparing to leave for bootcamp after joinging the National Guard. God knows exactly what He is doing - He won't give either of you more than you can handle. And when people are throwing all of these criticisms and doubts at you ----- YOU are exactly the mother Jackson needs, no one else can do what you do. Good or bad, God gave you Jackson as your son because He knows you are exacly the mother he needs and that is all that matters. And you need to learn to think like I did during the worst moments - no matter how awful I felt, I must have been doing something right or God wouldn't have trusted me with 4 more chldren to raise after the difficult one. This too shall pass.....

Anonymous said...

You don't need to explain yourself, Dawn. You are an amazing mother who is facing great challenges right now, and you are handling the best way you can! I wish I could zip over to Chicago right now and give you a giant hug. I hold nothing but great respect for you and I pray God's best for you and your precious children. (((HUG)))

A day in the Life... said...

It irritates me when people pretend to generously donate their money and then feel like they can interject themselves into your life to govern how they spend it. Those types of people really should NOT donate money!!

I feel your pain about your child, my son is on the autism specturm.

He started off his first year of Kindergarten by choking another child among other things. Since he isn't obviously autistic and mostly lacks social type skills and impulse control there is pretty much zero understanding for him.

It seems to me you have to have an obvious mental or physical disability to recieve any empathy because if you have emotional or social issues you are just a bad kid. His own Special Ed teacher told him he was a Bad kid.

I understand your frustration as a parent. I have 4 kids and am pregnant with number 5 and I often have lost my temper with my son. When you feel like you are beating your head against the wall all day it is bound to happen, but I try not to dwell on what I have done or said b/c it isn't helpful to the here and now.

I am sorry that your son had to be admitted, I hope he is able to get out again soon!

cchhbb said...

Well since I was the one who commented on the pedicures I will take the blame, but since most others have not seen what I wrote I do not think they should be judging me. I now have become a target for having my own opinions. I will try and defend myself however as I too live on a fixed budget, have never treated myself to a pedicure or manicure and was disappointed to read about them. I clearly stated if someone donated with the express intent that their donation should be earmarked for something non-essential that is fine. I just wanted to state that my family knows I like to help others out and sometimes I don't have any extra funds myself and I have to make sure my expenses are met first. So my family asked about Dawn and I told them to go to her blog and what comes up but the post about the pedicures. I of course told them to take the time to read her archives to find out more about her situation and I hope they do in fact I am sure some of my kids will make a donation also. I don't think I should be jumped on and judged without explaining my situation and wonder how Christian that is.
Maybe I am more upset with myself and I probably will not contribute to any thing over the internet. I do not need added stress in my life either and will focus on doing what I can for others with a lot more caution from now on.
I only wish the best for Dawn and children and perhaps the best thing I can do is keep them in my prayers. I am sorry Dawn has to be put in the position of defending herself also but I do think it is unfair to make assumptions about me. In fact, I had already communicated with Kelli and I was reassured about this situation and I believed the issues were resolved with both sides understanding each other. I contacted Kelli, not this blog to keep my concerns private and knowing she was the contact person for Dawn, I assumed she (Kelli) would be able to answer my concerns without bothering Dawn and she did and I though the issues were resolved. Kelli did a nice job answering my concerns.

KT said...

I'm so glad so many are writing to support you. I thought the pedicure was a perfect way to stay connected to your girls in the swirl of what's happening. I'm hoping things with Jackson get better. Best wishes in everything.

Bailey's Leaf said...

My heart breaks when someone donates money, then thinks that they are entitled to give instruction to what needs to be done with it. In a way, I'm sure that it made you cringe slightly when the blog was hijacked for that very reason. [INSERT: No, Dawn did not say this. I did. Blame me. Direct all hate mail regarding this comment to Bailey's Leaf.)

You are absolutely correct with depression and mental illness. In one way, you are expected to treat it, but it isn't the 1950's where you wear a string of pearls, a crinoline under your dress (I don't know, do you?) and sweep everything under the family rug of silence. People think that you are under obligation to give them entertaining stories such as Tickle Me Brooklyn or The Killer Moth. There's a whole lot more to a family with 6 children and an absent father than that.

In case everyone forgot, blogs are online journals. In case you don't agree with what is being said, you always have the option to click that red X at the top right hand side. Just sayin'.

I'm sorry that you've had to apologize for the expenditure of YOUR OWN MONEY. What can I say, people can be crappy.

Judge not, lest ye be judged?

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:3

Y'all, let's spread the love. Stop being so freakin' judgmental and be thoughtful. God would want you to be!

Laila and Angel Minchie said...

I'm thrilled that you used some of the money for pedicures! Just consider my donation the money that helped pay for them as that's what I wanted you to do with it.

You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

kirine said...


You are amazing. As it has been said before, a true inspiration. Especially managing to keep your faith intact when so many others would crumble.

Tell the idiots who think they ought to have some say in what you do with what's been donated to go pound sand. That money is for you AND the kids to do as you wish. You don't have to justify anything to anyone, nor do you have to ask for permission.

Do yourself a favor. Stop beating yourself up. Those of us that have kids have at least one that tries our patience to the very limit and beyond. Kids don't come with manuals and we're all going to stumble along the way, doing the best we can with what we have. There are always going to be situations that we could have handled differently and better. You live, you learn and move on.

None of this is your fault, so put the blame where it belongs. You are there for your kids where ex was not. Don't make excuses for him. He's the one who made horrible choices, not you.

Stay strong. Keep faith. God is going to take care of you and is watching over you now. Remember the poem Footprints in the Sand.

Meredith said...

Grrrr.... Gifts do not come with strings and people should not be judgmental.

Iceflow said...

Dawn, I know that you've probably heard what I'm going to say before but I feel that you probably need all the positive comments and emails you can get.

I think you are doing a wonderful job and there is no way I could do what you are doing. Nobody is perfect but you are doing the best job you can.

My heart aches for you and I know something good is going to come for you.

I think you taking the girls out for a pedicure was a wonderful use of whatever it costs. Your kids need you and that special time was good for both you and them.

Hold on, Dawn. Help is coming somehow. Just hold on.

Jen Reil said...

First of all, I am SO glad you took your daughtes to get pedis, you have to have moments of joy amidst the struggles of life or we all would lose it. I'm also so sorry about Jackson. You are a wonderful mother! and I have not met a single one of us who has not yelled at their kids and felt horrible about it. If anyone pretends that they haven't check their neck and see if they come from Stepford. I wish I could do more to help, but I think we all should focus on uplifting each other instead of criticizing. Hope the rest of your week goes better =).

Carrie M. said...

Dawn, I'm so sorry there are such ignorant people out there. Bottom line is this: it is YOUR money now to do with as you see fit. If you want to throw it into to lake for the fishies, that is nobody's business but YOURS!!

You also need to enjoy yourself. Spending time with your children is a great way to spend money...no matter how much. Good luck with Jackson and I"m praying for your family!!

Tanna said...

Do not let judgmental people get you down. Everyone needs a small treat from time to time and until they have even attempted to walk a few steps in your shoes, don't let them get to you.
I appreciate what you said about parenting. I only have one child who is 17 and I have always had problems with her. She even went to live with her dad for a year or so but she's back with me and so are the problems all over again. I stayed in bed crying all weekend because I feel like I was a bad parent, other people manage to raise normal kids who graduate high school and don't hate them. Anyways, I think your great and I couldn't for a minute imagine how difficult all this has been on you. Hang in there and don't let the judgmental people get to you.

emiliy said...

You should read the second comment on this post the next time someone tells you how to use money donated to you. If someone feels compelled to donate to someone in need, what do they care how it is spent? If Lexi NEEDED some alone time with Mom, then the money was well spent. In my opinion.

Anonymous said...

"That's the thing about ADHD, depression, and other mental illnesses. They're treated like something bad. If your child had diabetes, you wouldn't try to hide the condition. You wouldn't think you were a horrible parent if your child had diabetes. But it's different with mental illness." YES! Exactly!! Thank you so much for saying this publicly. It's a shame those of us who have children with a diagnosis feel we have to hide their diagnosis. Not only do we have to fear judgement by other parents and family members but worse we fear that our children will be stigmatized and discriminated against by friends, their parents, teachers, etc. I can take the harsh words but it would break my heart to see my son go through that. Thanks for putting a face to mental illness, Dawn and speaking out about this!

On a side note, it's a shame they keep sending Jackson home before he is ready. When my son was acting like that they kept him in-patient for 26 days until they had him on the right medication and he stopped attacking staff and other patients. At one point, I was fearful they were going to send him too soon because for the first five days he was on the "honeymoon" phase where he was on his best behavior. However, eventually the other side of him came out and they were then able to treat him. The mental health system is very frustrating to navigate. Especially when you are new to it! Good luck, Dawn! Keeping you in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

I say screw'em.

Sometimes you just have to do something fun and little to keep your sanity. You could have spent the money on a number of things and no one would ever know. Instead, you posted about the experience and I personally got a laugh out of your jokes about learning Vietnamese.

PS - I ordered several copies of your book to share with my sisters. Seems one of us is always having a baby these days (5 of us)

Melissa said...

You seem to be doing the best that you can with cicumstances beyond your control. And you are doing it by yourself with nobody to give you a day off if you need it. Who hasn't lost it and screamed at their kids? Who hasn't also regretted it? And I think that the pedicures was a great thing for you to do. You need to be able to relax in order to be a better parent and person (not that there is anything wrong with you!). Get that mold fixed honey. You will all feel better! Sending hugs your way and wishing it could be more!

Unknown said...

It frustrates me to know that some people feel the need to "advise" Dawn on the way she SHOULD spend time with her children, how she SHOULD spend the money that generous souls donated for her to use as she needs, how she SHOULD deal with her children's depression and behavior, etc. If all of these things bother people so very much, they SHOULD quit reading. I'm sure Dawn wouldn't mind.

Angie H. said...

If someone is concerned about how you are using the money then they (a) DON'T need to donate
(b) DON't read the blog.
You are the only one that can determine what is in the best interest of you and your children and I know that is not easy. I have had a child suffer with depression and have to be in treatment. It hurts to be the mom and not be able to "FIX" what is wrong. Hang in there and pray. I know that all of your readers are praying for you and your children. You use the money to better help your kids, fix your home and yes have a girls mani/pedi day. EVERYONE deserves a break. You need time with each of your kids and time for yourself. Hang in there. Accept the help when offered. You will make it.

Unknown said...

In 2008 our son moved into our home. He was a foster child at the time. His behaviors were exactly as you describe Jackson's behaviors. He broke everything in sight, threatened everyone in the house, hit, kicked, punched me, and did dangerous things just for attention. He pretty much took control of our entire house with his behaviors. We would spend hours sitting in the car on the side of the road because he wouldn't calm down so I could drive or because he would keep opening the passenger door of the car while I was driving. My nights were spent watching him throw horrible fits and trying to keep him from tearing apart my home. In the morning I prayed for the minutes to pass quickly so I could send him to school and at night I prayed bedtime would come just so I could have a break. It was constant non stop turmoil and destruction. Thankfully we were able to somehow get through it and after we adopted him later that year he started to get better. And now for the most part he is a very sweet loving child. He still has his moments but he is no longer aggressive or destructive. I now know that anything is possible. You are a great mom and though it is so hard right now, you will help Jackson get through this difficult time and he will get better. I have seen the impossible happen with my son and so I know it can happen with Jackson as well. In the meantime just try to focus on the positive like you have been doing. We are all praying for you.

Melisa said...

Its too bad there are those out there that are judgmental about the small stuff. If it helps the money I donated paid for most of your pedicures which is what I would have LOVED for you to do. I also would have wanted you to go past a coffee house and get a BIG delicious something to give you a hug from the inside and a hot cocoa for your kids too. Your doing great. You can do this. We ALL know you can even if you don't feel that you can. One day at a time and if that's too much one HOUR at a time. I'm VERY glad you have this blog to vent and celebrate. That is what life is about and one day you will have more to celebrate than to vent.

Crazy Mom! said...

Good for you to do something fun with the girls. It hurts the whole family when there is mental illness (not to mention the divorce thing). I'm dealing with an 18 year old who is bi-polar and will not take his meds, acts out & is awful to deal with. I know where you are coming from. Bless you.

Interesting article in today's NY Times on dealing with mental illness - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/us/19mental.html

Hang in there. The shower is a good place to cry - once it's free of mold! Laughter is the best medicine

T.M. said...

Really? People are questioning your decision to do something for your girls (and it sounds like you are doing it in the cheapest possible way by taking advantage of a discount day)? I know that I'm not very well off, financially most of the time. I tell my daughter "no, we can't afford that" quite often. But, I still occasionally treat her to something fun and frivolous (within financial reason) and the lit-up eyes I get when I do so...worth every penny.

Your posting about someone questioning your decision for mani/pedis is such a small thing.

Please be careful with that mold. Perhaps when your friend is dealing with that (be sure he's got the right masks and such), you and the kids can find something outside the house to do so you aren't breathing all that in.

Mega (((HUGS))) to you for what you're going through with regard to Jackson and his meds. I would definitely ask for a change. Obviously what he's on isn't working the way they should be.

Take some time for you. I believe that is what that money is for - to give you some peace of mind. Peace of mind that your home is taken care of. Peace of mind that your kids are taken care of. Peace of mind that YOU are being taken care of. You don't strike me as a person who would squander a gift like that on frivolity. I know you will put it to wonderful use!

Amazing Mama said...

Dawn, I'm standing beside you under this yoke of despair. Burdens are lightened if borne together.
My oldest is FTM (transgendered) and has broken my heart by having a hysterectomy at 22. BUT...I didn't cause it any more than you the cause of your children's actions and behaviours.
You and I have chosen to stand by our kids and shield them from toxic people and those mean spirited people can't handle that so they lash out. Hang in there {{hugs and prayers}}

Unknown said...

Dawn...I donated $ to you. I have three boys (12,9,7) and I know how important it is to spend quality time with them. I WANT you to use the money to do fun stuff with the kids! I'd be upset if you didn't!

Karen said...

Mine was not a donation. I consider it a subscription payment long overdue for months of wonderful reading. You earned it!

Cheryl Houston said...

Oh, Dawn. I've read your blog for a long time. I don't comment often but my heart is breaking for you and your kids today. I wish I had magic words to heal all of your pains but I don't. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Bekah said...

Dawn I love you and I'm praying for you! Hang in there!! God is holding you in His hand!

Paulette said...


I'm sending you BIG HUGS!!! First, don't worry about what people are thinking, we gave you the money for YOU to use how YOU see fit.

You really hit the nail on the head when you talked about how some people "blame" mental illness on something. It is an illness and there is no blame for it.

Please know that you have many supporters who are supporting you, thinking of you and sending you TONS of prayers.

Hugs & prayers,

Stefanie said...

I am so sorry that people still feel the need to criticize you with all that you have been and are going through. My heart really goes out to you. I have been reading for at least 3 years and I really feel a connection with you, as much as you can just by reading someone's blog. When a gift is given to you, it is your's money or not, to choose what to do with it. These people are not with you in your daily activities to give them the right to dictate what you choose to spend money on. I will keep praying and will certainly buy your books as soon as I can, my husband was out of work for over a month or else I would be helping more, love you so much and I can't wait until this is over and you can enjoy your life and family again!

Unknown said...

Dawn, that money is yours to use as you see fit. Things like pedicures or trips to McDonalds go a long way in restoring the soul, sometimes. I'm sure I speak for most of us when I say to use it in the ways that help all of you the most, in whatever small or large way. We all just want to help.
About Jackson...I agree with the above post that says it might be the meds. I'm sure his doctor is looking in to that. Rage can definitely be a side effect of depression meds.
Take care, and hang in there.

Robin said...

I Can. Not. Believe. The nerve of some people!! You can't give a gift from the heart and then expect to be able to dictate how that gift is used. GRRRR people...get a clue!

Anyone who knows you from reading your blog from the beginning knows you wouldn't just frivolously throw money around. Your kids DESERVE something fun and it's no ones business..... well, except ours, your loyal readers... :) We have a right to know that you're getting to do a few special things with your kids every now and then (or even a little something special for yourself).

And on to your issues with Jackson....again, all I can say is "I'm sorry you're all going thru this". I can't offer any advice (not that you haven't heard it all already) because I've never had to deal with it. However, I do know that as a mother I would feel the same way you do. You want so desperately to help them and take away their pain and anger. It's what we do. Just keep doing what you're doing and very soon you'll have all your fingers firmly planted back on that cliff and you'll be hauling yourself back up and over it!

After seeing the pictures of your bathroom, PLEASE get that fixed as soon as your friend can do it. Is it possible that Jackson has a hyper-sensitivity to the mold, making his behavior worse? (not ignoring the fact that you've all been thru so much other stuff) I don't know, I'm not a doctor...it was just a thought. And what a great thing that you can help your friends out while getting bathroom repairs!

We love you Dawn! The negative readers can just eat your heel cheese! = P

petunia6348 said...

My heat aches for you, Dawn. No words, no judgements, just (((((hugs))))) and prayers are being sent your way.

Lisa said...

Dawn, you use the money I donated however you need it! A day out with your kids, a day out by yourself, fixing your bathroom, taking your family on a vacation, whatever!! You know what your family needs most. I care about you (even though I don't know you), and in giving someone money you are also giving them your faith and trust that you believe they know what they would benefit from most. People who are complaining are ridiculous. You deserve all you've been given and more and I wish you all the best.

Covey said...

I know you odn't need another thing to add to your list of worries but my child is the same--Dr. Jekyll and mr. Hyde and it is because of a food allergy. HE's on the Feingold diet which eliminates dyes and preservatives and he is an absolute angel when he's on it. he got something yesterday he shouldn't have and went bonkers and I lost a clump of hair and ended upw ith a bloody nose. I don't know if diet would help Jackson but it might be worth looking into. I swear it is a very dramatic impact on my son.

Wendy said...

Dawn, should we break into Taylor Lautner's house and cut up all his shirts? Then he'd really not own a shirt. It would make me feel better. Perhaps it would make you, and Savannah, and maybe Lexi feel better too?

shirley said...

when you gift anything to someone.....it is then theirs to do with as they see fit. you did nothing wrong. hold your head up and your faith strong. you will make it. praying for you and your children. delete the negatives and don't give them a moment's thought. personally, i think you should ask each child what they would like...perhaps give them an amount that they can spend....and let them choose their own special treat...whether it be a toy, candy, an outing...whatever. let them have a little fun. you are awesome and don't you forget it.

Sonja said...

Dawn, I figured it was about time I paid you for the hours of entertainment you've provided me with your blog...and I think I speak on behalf of everyone else who donated: go get as many pedicures with Lexi and Savannah as you want...you all deserve it.

Kauseks said...

A couple things. You should not have to explain how you spend YOUR money. The minute it left our pockets it became yours. Second, I donated, and I want you to use that money for you, the kids , the bathroom, pizza, nails or a hooker if you want too.. You are a grown adult, and are smart enough not to go out and buy a purebred puppy. I have said it before. I am glad you have a place to write whats going with your life. There are people here who feel like we know you , and are close to you. A little tip, when ever someone gets to me, I just smile and tell myself. God will take care of them, better than I ever could :D

Jennifer said...

Don't you listen to those people who think they know better than you. You know your children and what they need to get their minds off of the stresses in life. I trust that you will continue to do everything in your power to get you and your family through this tough time in one piece. It will get better. Just keep in mind those wonderful rainbows in your life (your kids, your helpful friends, etc) who brighten up your rainy day.

Sarah said...

Dawn, I have five children and I have made more than my share of mistakes. I have done things and said things I wish I could take back. If anyone hasn't done that to their child it's because they DON'T have one! Children are very forgiving, and some of the things that have meant the most to my kids are things I don't even remember! (Our youngest is 18). Don't listen to the crap that people fling your way. We gave to you because we wanted to and you have the right to spend it however you damn well please. Excuse my French (crap and piss go in that category also :))
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do something for yourself. I wish I lived close enough to stay with your kids so you could have some alone time. Being a parent is one of the hardest and most rewarding occupations there is. You are doing a WONDERFUL job. You are human, you will make mistakes; you will go on because you love your kids and they love you. Things WILL get better. You are such an inspiration to many of us!

lifeiswonderful said...

Dawn you are an amazing strong and sound minded woman. Most would have curled up into the fetal position and started sucking their thumb just with the divorce! You do what you KNOW is best for you and your kids, screw the idiots that want to criticize you. They have no place being judgemental and they are just plain mean. Write whatever you want, it's YOUR blog. Besides, we all have our problems and it makes us feel better to know we're not along in this world that sometimes sucks. Your faith in Him will pull you and all of your precious children through these dark days.

MUCH love from Minnesnowta

DeAnna said...

As if people would be so heartless to not understand that the healing process needs to include FUN and relaxation. They donated the money, they cannot tell you how to use it. That is completely up to you!

A little tip from a handy woman, stop using Bleach on the black mold, use soap & water or vinegar or a special cleanser designed to kill mold. When you use bleach on it, it makes it more toxic to you & your family. And definately make sure that you check elsewhere in your home for mold, the spores will grow anywhere that is moist/damp like window sills/basements. Best of luck to you!!

And I saw the comments about the special diets helping with ADD and ADHD, I too have seen them work with friend's children.

Hang in there!

Phyllis said...

My middle child is a boy and had ADHD as a child. A clinician recommended parenting classes for me and said there was nothing wrong with him. ADHD kids are just wired different from others, not wrong, just different. My son had anger issues as well and underwent counseling. I am happy to report to you that he is now a happy, well-adjusted, happily married, compassionate man. It was all worth it Dawn, hang in there!

Chris said...

I may be repeating what others have said but I need to say this. Many years ago someone told me that when you lend someone money you should always consider it a gift because you may never get it back. The minute I donated to Dawn's cause, the money became hers to do with as she pleased. When I read about the pedicures, I thought, how awesome to have a little mother/daughter time. Cost be damned. What's going on in Dawn's house has to be affecting each child in terrible ways. Even if the kids are being good, trauma is affecting them. Having a brother (or two) in treatment has to be difficult for everyone. If it helps to have a pedicure or WHATEVER, it's not our business where the money comes from. If you choose to donate money to a cause (any cause) then you need to allow the recipient the luxury of choosing how it's spent. If you can't do that, then it's simple. Don't donate.

There are many thousands of people out there who need help. Dawn and her family has become a part of our lives and when you feel close to someone, you want to help. I help where and when I can, and when I see a young mother going through these things, my first thought is "what can I do to help???" I don't live close enough to offer tangible help like making dinner or babysitting, so when this chance to donate a little money came up I jumped on it. Dawn, use the money however you think best. If you need to take a vacation when everyone's well, use it for that.

We all want what's best for you. YOU know what that is-no one else can do it for you. And I know that someday, you'll pay it forward.

Hugs from PA

aceiatx said...

I just want to say that I don't think you should have to justify how you use the donated money at all. We all know you love your kids and do anything for them. When people donate money to a cause they should do with without 'strings attached' and anyone who thinks that giving money entitles them to be able to tell you what to do with it needs to step back and reevaluate their own lives and their own decisions with the same level of criticizm.

As my 4 yr old son would say: "How Rude!"

Mrs Rad Wag said...

Dawn - you are an amazing parent. I applaud your decision to share your challenges right now. Other people go through the same challenges and it's helpful to hear how others are dealing. Mental illness is no different than diabetes or any other health issue. And the more people that understand that, the less stigma there is around mental illness. If someone wanted to donate to you and dictate how to spend it, it's not really a donation. Those of us that truely did donate, know that you will spend it as best fits your family, whether it's pedicures for the girls, or dark chocolate for you, or anything else that you want to spend the donation on. You are a great role model and mother and I hope that these challenges lessen sooner, rather than later, and life can settle into more "normal" activities. God Bless you!

Nicki said...

I'm so sorry that you are feeling bad about any of this. The money is yours, do what you need to with it to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy and their needs are being met.

As far as Jackson goes, you have no need to feel bad about occasionally losing it. You are human and the situation is, to put it mildly, trying. None of your kids will love you less if you aren't perfect, and really it shows them how hard you are trying for them and that it is okay to have those moments. My oldest and my middle son both have a range of issues including ADD/ADHD, depression, OCD, anxiety and have both had violent and aggressive behaviors. It isn't pretty, it isn't easy, and it is not caused by occasionally yelling at them when they are being difficult. You are doing everything that you are supposed to, so don't second-guess yourself. It may well be the medication is aggravating the situation, so keep on the doctors to see what can be done. That's the downside to medicating; it is an imperfect science and, more or less, a crapshoot in finding the right combination, but it is such a relief when they finally get it right.

Write whatever you need to; this is your journal for pete's sake and you get to journal about whatever is on your mind, not just the happy stuff. Take care of yourself and your kids and know that you are all in my prayers.

Sheila said...

Dear Dawn, my heart aches for you and your family. I wish I could offer much more, but this is the best I can. Grab a cup of coffee and go hide for 5 minutes and just feel everything you're feeling. Then talk to God and give it all to him! I can't say that I understand entirely but I am sympathetic. I have two Girls' at home with severe food allergies, a sensory processing disorder and I'm struggling with health issues myself (they think rheumatoid disease). Hang in there and PRAY!!

tommygirl said...

Dawn, as a mom of only two children, I have said things hurtful and mean to my children. I have said things I wish I could take back, and regret it the moment it leaves my mouth. You are doing the best you can do, and obviously alot of people out there feel the same way.
In regards to how you use the money donated to you, well that is UP TO YOU. I don't feel like there is anything wrong with doing something special for one of your children, who obviously needed it. I will continue to pray for you, and your children and that you can all heal from this cloud of darkness.

Snoopyfan said...

I haven't read all the other comments but if I am remembering correctly, you did not ask for that money. You get another finger up on that cliff ledge however you need to!

We will continue to hold your family up in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

well - I hope it cost exactly what I donated - cause that is what I do with MY daughter when she is feeling neglected by me (in favor of her brother - who does need more of my attention). we go and get our toes done - we hold hands, we giggle and talk and BOND. and that is what I would have recommended you do with Lexi. Hugs to you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dawn,I am so sorry that you are going through so much and are having to deal with it all by yourself. Please know that this is your blog about your life and if it feels better to get it out here than that is fine with us. We will read your blog when it makes us cry and when it makes us laugh. Have they tested Jackson for anything other than ADHD? The reason I ask is because my son was diagnosed with that years ago and the meds never worked right. We have now after alot of trial and error found out that it is a "mood disorder" they say they can't technically say he's bipolar because he's too young. It has taken some time but we finally have the right med and it has helped alot. Thank you for letting us into yours and your kids lives. We really do care about all of you.

Teresa said...

Dear Dawn,
I think you are doing a wonderful job. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Beth said...

I am new to your blog, I found it thru a friend of mine. I will keep it brief. You are amazing, you are strong. Sending you hugs and my thoughts and hopes that things get better for you and your children. It seems like you do waht is best for your kids and that should never change.

tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

One of the hardest parts for me in parenting my eldest is the way I sometimes alter the entire family's experiences to try and avoid a blow up from him. It sucks that we all have to suffer because of his issues but you're right: if he had diabetes or cancer or some disease that people understood better than an issue within his mind, we would all make the sacrifices without pause.

Sending you lots of love because I do have a husband who is around and it's difficult enough WITH his help... Also? Life is supposed to be ABOUT the happy things. Anyone who tells you that you're squandering money to put a smile on a child's face doesn't understand that. Smiles are what we're put on the Earth to do.

suzanne said...

Dawn, you did NOT come off as nasty at all!! And if someone is going to donate money, then they should have enough faith in you that they know you will do the right thing with it. If they do not have this faith, then they have no business donating money. Keep it to themselves so they can control where it goes We donate to help you, not to control you! I, for one, am glad you got pedicures with the girls. Everyone needs a treat!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

tea tree oil kills off mold - do try it! It will stink for a while though...

And OF COURSE you and only you choose what to do with money donated! Shame on people spouting off! The pedicure wasn't just that, but as people have been saying, a time off and bonding - Lexi probably needs you at least as much as the other children do even though she doesn't act out to show it!

Anonymous said...

I will be donating in a few but I could care less what you do with it. Do whatever you want. Go buy ice cream cones. Go have a dinner out. Go have MORE pedicures! (I love pedicures). Go do something for yourself WITHOUT the kids even! Who cares? People donate to HELP you. Not tell you what to do. And besides.. Pedicures help. Your feet are healthier now! So there. Pfft.

Beverly said...

Judgmental, ignorant people suck! If it helps just a little, go get a pedi EVERY day! A gift is just that, no one should make judgments on what you use it for.
Keep your head up and find little ways for you and the kiddos to enjoy.

thesixburghmom said...

My Dear, I feel compelled to respond. I knew, just knew the other day when I read that you went for pedis that someone would rip you to shreds for it. DO NOT feel guilty. You are doing what is best for your family.

Another thing I want to share, I grew up in a house with a brother much like Jackson. My Dad also abandoned us. Violent outbursts, holes in walls, fearing for our lives was part of the day-to-day. Nothing was ever done. I lived in fear of his angry rages. I got out as soon as I could. I do not regret marrying young or starting a family young. But one of my main motivations was getting out of that hell hole of a house and away from the unpredictability of my brother. It didn't do much good, because I was the only other child and still had to deal with all of it. But at least I didn't live it day in and day out. He's 30 this year. I've witnessed him struggle with a heroin addiction, watched his friends drag him to rehab twice, bailed him out of jail for a DUI, rescued his butt when he was evicted...again and again, threatened my Mom with disownment if she did not kick his adult, addict butt out of the house. But he's FINALLY come around. He's 30 though. And even after all of that, he still thinks I believe his "rehab" was for alcohol and he isn't comfortable enough to tell me he's gay (although he doesn't hide it, he just won't say "this is who I am, accept me.") He only sees us on holidays and barely interacts with us throughout the rest of the year.

Don't let that be Jackson.

Don't let Jackson waste some of the best years of his life because you are afraid (what my mom did). You are doing EVERYTHING right. EVERYTHING. Get him help now. Say things you regret...show him you have faults too. But love him enough to get him help. You need it, he needs it, but your other children need it too. I can tell you, the other five children are bearing a huge burden that others may never realize. This is deeply affecting them too.

My heart hurts for you Dawn because your words sounds so familiar and so painful. Keep on keeping on. You're a great Mom and your children are blessed with you. When I think of you, I pray for you.

GiGi said...

You don't need to explain yourself on your blog. Period.

Kris Roach said...

There are so many LONG comments to read I will be brief!

Ignorant people SUCK.

Praying for Jackson and the family...love you and wish I could do more to help! Keep up the good work, you are AMAZING..

Unknown said...

Just want you to know that I think you made the right decision. you are making all the right decisions, and doing something just for you and the girls was probably the best use you could have made of this money. People are cruel. Dont let them pull you under, allow the rest of us to help keep you afloat!!!

trousseau4 said...

There are necessities that go beyond a mortgage payment or utility bill. The day out with the girls was a positive, healthy and loving way to show them that they matter too and you should not feel guilty no matter what it cost. The donations that have been made to you are from readers that care about you and want to make your life a little easier. Use it for whatever YOU think your family needs and don't waste energy on those that have nothing better to do than criticize. As a single Mom of 4, I know what it is to struggle. I work full time and wish that someone once in a while would do something for me and my kids "just because". Good luck and my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Unknown said...

Hi Dawn, I'm a mother of 2 girls under 3 and I applaud you for all you are doing for your children. I am bipolar and I can sympathize with what Jackson is going through. Most doctors don't diagnose bipolar until you are out of puberty but I don't think men ever grow out of that!! :) I've been reading your blog for two-ish years now and you are such an inspiration to me. I know life is sometimes difficult and throws you curve balls that seem to come out of nowhere, but know that you have sooooo many people who love and care about you, many of whom have never met you! I ordered your book and cannot wait to read it! Just know that there are others out there who have experienced similar things and are sending good thoughts and prayers your family's way. You are loved. You are an amazing mother. I'm sure you are an amazing friend as well. Sending you hugs and prayers!
Gretchen from AZ

Mawmaw of two said...

I am the mom of two sons, that are 26 and 29. My husband of 31 years has been ill since they were 9 & 12. Just wanted to let you know that numerous times in their childhood, I threatened to put them up for adoption (then told them that I was the only mom crazy enough to have them) and also told them that I tried to sell them to the gypsy's, (but the gypsy's wanted me to pay them to take them) and we all survived. I best advice to you is to give yourself the right to be human. Each night when you finally get to put your head on your pillow, you have to know that on that day, you did the best you could do - that day. I can't speak for anyone else, but the money that I contributed was exactly for what you did - special times for you and your children. So, since I'm not telling how much I contributed, every time you spend money on fun, just say it was the money that Laurie contributed!! Thanks for being human and thanks for being real.

jennyandcompany said...

You are doing an amazing job with what you are facing! And I think paying your friend Chris to do the work is the perfect way to pay it forward. What a wonderful idea!

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

You go girl!! Just remember...your fingers are STRONG. If your cartoon starts slipping...just put those fingers right back on that cliff...or better yet, maybe the ground is only inches from your feet!! Prayers! Prayers! Prayers! I think it's awesome that you can share...that you are going to get your bathroom fixed...that you got to have a pedicure and now you can wear your flip flops with pride Ü

Unknown said...

I haven't commented in a long time because I prefer to comment as "anonymous," but I have to this time. I can't believe that someone would question how you are using your money, even if they think you're using money that they donated.

Anyone who donates money needs to LET GO of it and trust you to use it however YOU feel that you need to, however best benefits you and your family.

You have nothing to apologize for. You are not the Red Cross, and you don't owe us an explanation for how you spend your money.

Sandy said...

If people took the time to criticize others and spent it in prayer for those who need it think of how much positive prayer and good thoughts would be spread to you and others...
God will show them there is a better way of handling those things, and never should we pass judgement on those when we don't have to wear their shoes.
Keep your head high and continue to do the little things that will make your kids happy. They will be remembering it for years.

Rachel said...

I have been mentally ill my whole life. I have had many hospitalizations. It is not your fault in any way and your are doing the best with what you have! As far as people dictating how you spend your money that is not their right. If I had to blame my parents on one thing it is that they did not get me the help you are getting your son when I was his age. You are doing everything right!!!

Tammy said...

So if the person who commented on your visit to the spa actually donated to help you out, they weren't actually giving you a gift. B/c a gift is the property of the person receiving it. I bought both your books and gave a little last week, and I plan to give you a little every week or every couple weeks, so if you want to go to the spa, you can spend MY gift! Good stinkin' grief.

I am sorry to hear Jackson is struggling. And poor Clayton. I'm glad you shared; I know how to specifically pray for you all.

I'm glad you can help your friend by supplying him some work.

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Dawn, YAY for you for taking your girls out and doing something special. What girl doesn't like to have pretty toes?? It was VERY conscientious of you to go when they have specials. I sure never do. I don't do much for myself but I sure make sure to get in some me time, and I take my 7 yr old with me every other time I go.

Don't beat yourself up about getting upset and losing it once and awhile. We are all human and we all break, like you said. You all have a lot going on right now and people should either be helpful or butt out!

I hope things start to come together for you. I know it may not help much, but The Explosive Child and meditation has helped us a lot where our kids are concerned. Then again so has several admissions to the hospital and some major diet changes.

I wish you and your family the best in your time of need!

Anonymous said...

I didn't read all the comments above me, so I may repeat what someone else said. My guess is the person who made that comment did not donate any money themselves. The people who did donate would not tell you HOW to use the money. If they cared how you used it they would send it in the form of a gift card for that purpose. (I.E. a gas card or grocery store card) As far as blaming yourself, that's what a parent does. If your child trips over their shoe laces you've told them to tie a million times, and skins their knees, you blame yourself for not telling them that one last time. We don't want to see our kids hurt, but no matter what we do we cannot shelter them from the reality of life. You wouldn't want to, that would be unfair when it was time for them to go out into the world on their own. Imagine the culture shock if they never experienced pain rejection or loss. Your job is to hold their hand and help guide them through it. God will never give you more than you can carry. It may feel like it at times, but if you lean on him and trust him, he will send people your way to help you through. I'm sure you have already witnessed that. Their is no end to love and no end to his mercy. You are in my prayers.

haggardmom said...

Well, no one has responded to oneida44's attempt at 'defending herself', so I will. I probably would have been more empathetic if some background had been included... have you been in a similar situation? Did you raise several children by yourself? Deal with mental health issues? None of this was mentioned in her comment. The only thing I got out of the supposed 'defense' was that because she's on a fixed income and would/has never treat herself to a pedicure that Dawn shouldn't either. The fact is, as others mentioned, you can't give $ to someone and then have expectations about how they spend it. Oneida44 appears to have been disappointed that Dawn made a choice that she herself would not have. If oneida44 wanted to 'earmark' her donation, she should have sent a grocery store gift card or something.

I say, Dawn, get pedicures for the whole damn block if you want! ;-)

Leah Dudley said...

Let go of those negative and guilty thoughts about your parenting and choice of how you spend your money. Unfortunately, there will always be those that give with strings attached. That is their problem...not being able to accept the fact that you might use their money for something that doesn't meet their approval.

But what you did with your girls is something they will remember all their life...what fun it was to spend time with their mom! It is very important to take a little time and money for yourself and your kids during this challenge and have a little fun!

When I was around your age I was divorced with three kids. I had no extra money for anything! One day I took a few dollars and ordered hamburgers and french fries for our dinner. Although my kids are grown with families of their own...they to this day remember when I bought hamburgers and how much fun and special that was during a very challenging time in our lives.

It is very difficult living with ADHD. My husband is ADHD with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Even though he is on medication I find it so important to enjoy whatever time away from him to recharge and have a little peacefulness and serenity in my life.

You are only human and it is normal that you have times that you wish you had handled a situation in a different way. Those are the times that you learn forgiveness and acceptance. You also learn from those experiences and find ways to handle the situation more effectively the next time.

By all means use your blog to vent and tell us about your experiences and feelings. We love you and your family. Sending positive thoughts your way...

Health Test Dummy said...

You can't please everyone. I mean, really. Since the whole "Facebook explosion" I've fully realized just how different everyone really is. A random joke is taken seriously by some and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, you are exposed to the masses and there is always going to be one or two idiots out there with lots of judgment for you.

Personally, I may not always agree with you or any other friends, but I shut my trap and let you all live your life, judgment-free. God only knows I'm far from perfect.

So, don't worry about what people say. Because you CAN'T please everyone.

Anonymous said...

I for one am GLAD you took the girls for a little time out!!! THEY need your attention too and SO you had a few moments of zen EVEN if you did think they were talking bout your heels....
Keep your Chin up!

khull05 said...

I never comment here (or really anywhere else!) but I have been reading these past few weeks with tears in my eyes and so much compassion for you. And, so, from a complete stranger who has an opinion that doesn't matter one whit, I just have to say: YOU ARE A GREAT MOM. You are working your guts out under such unbelievably horrible circumstances. To ANYONE who questions your taking your girls to get pedicures, or any family member who recounts your not-so-great moments, I say, "LOOK AT THE PLANK, PEOPLE.' We all have things we wish we hadn't done in the moment. These emails, questioning you, are what makes it difficult to accept donations/help. If someone donates to you, then they should do so with a heart that believes you will do what your kids need-even if it's a little foot rub. Guh. People.

Hang in there! From this stranger in TN, I'm praying so hard that the sun will come out for you really soon!

Tonia said...

Hi Dawn,

I agree with all the folks saying a gift should be given with no strings and no judgment on how one chooses to use that gift. That being said I have to admit I was worried when you posted your outing because the first thing that came to mind (sadly) is exactly what happened; someone would question it.

In defense of that person as I don't want to judge where their head is but for someone like me it's implanted. I have had to work very hard at changing myself from how I was raised. My parents were extremely judgmental, especially when it came to money and how people spent it. Until my dad's dying day, he judged. I had a baby sick in the hospital from CHD who could have died so we were on leave from work & therefore got behind on the mortgage. During the same time we traded in our "leased" car because it needed tires that we couldn't afford. The "new" car had no down payment. It didn't matter, I could NOT ask my dad for help because I KNEW he would judge. He would see new car and that would be the end of it. Who cares about the stress we were under because our child was sick; my dad would have judged.

So I've learned over time not to be like my dad. But when I read your blog my fear of judgment caused me to think it. I was like oh no, don't post that. Which makes me sad about myself that my head would even go there.

My friend was giving my special needs son free horseback riding lessons. We then made a trip to Disneyland (something we really couldn’t afford but our kids are only kids once so we did it anyway). I felt I had to explain it to my friend. Her response - she was happy that her gift allowed us to be able to take our kids to Disneyland. Not everyone is like my dad. She was floored that I felt I owed her an explanation.

It's just the way of thinking. I'm still working on retraining my brain. So even though I didn't think you did anything wrong I instinctively knew someone would. I hate that. It was from a lifetime of it. Maybe that person had the same garbage crammed down their throats and haven't realized it's time for a change. I know my dad’s history so I understood him, too. He just never tried to change. So I don't judge you and I don't judge them. I think it's wonderful you recognized your daughters needed something special and you should be able to write about without being judged.

Your family is always in my prayers.

Lois said...

Money freely given, money to be used as you see fit. Thanks for continuing to write your blog. Funny or not so funny, I still want to keep in touch.

Forty Pound Sack said...

My mom used to threaten to put us up for adoption, too. She said a lot of other things that I love her too much to repeat, and I never for one minute believed a word of it. Your kids know how much you love them, Dawn. You are doing a great job in a difficult situation and nobody should tell you otherwise.

FrugalcosIhave2 said...

Gifts are gifts. gifts have no strings. Otherwise, it is not a gift, it is an obligation. I believe from the comments on this most folks sent gifts without strings. I am glad you had girlie time. You have inspired me to do a little myself with my daughters, and if there is some way I can pay back the person who was "concerned" about how you spent the money so they don't have to worry, I will be happy to do so.

Mom said...

Oh, Dawn, I didn't take time to read all the comments, I'm sure I mirror so many others...but, I knew when I read about the pedicures that some idiot out there would take issue and decide to send you a nasty-gram about spending money. You have a life to live with your 6 children. The decisions are yours to make - you have to do what is best for your family. Don't let someone else impose their feelings on you - they aren't living your life. Shame on them for feeling like they should cast a stone - shame on them! I'm praying for all of you (you and your children). I'm one of the ones that reads your blog and laughs at the funny, but feels hope at some of the reality. I'm blessed with a loving husband and five beautiful children, but life is not perfect - I suspect it's not perfect for anyone. Raising kids is challenging - you give me hope with your stories (and the similarities I see to things in my life with regards to child-rearing) that I'm not the only one - you know, I'm not out there alone. Others has similar experiences and it's ok to laugh - better than crying, right. So get a pedicure, go to lunch or dinner, enjoy your life with your family. You are all lucky to have one another and one day you'll look back and be proud at how well you all did.

Kilian said...

At times like these when people who have no earthly understanding critize me, I take a Deep Cleansing Breath (DCB) and sing (to the tune of Besame Mucho)"Besame, besame culo." This is roughly Spanish for kiss my a$$, and I feel much better.

Unknown said...

I wondered if someone would misunderstand you taking the girls out. When I give, I love to hear that you do more with the kids.
They deserve so much.

Anyway, I just wanted to say this and then I will shut my mouth.
Your family ..... where were they for Thanksgiving and Christmas !
I think they are the ones causing the mind games for all of you.
Shame on them....... and now they want to put you down....Geesh !
I personally feel they are the ones that brought all this on !!!
You hang in there Dawn.
Hugs, Donna from NE Indiana

shawnie said...

Dawn,Dawn, DAWN! Jeez girl~ life just has a way of getting in the way. You my friend, can handle this. You have so much cyber support that outweighs those negative, jerkface people..c'mon sister!! I look up to you, you make me laugh..hang in there, good things are just around the corner!

You do as YOU see fit, best wishes:)
Shawnie in Mo.

Jess said...

I would just like to say that YOU are the only one who can decide what is best for YOUR kids! Just because you don't do things exactly how someone else things you should, doesn't mean you are doing it wrong. You're their mom and you get to decide how to raise them. Just keep doing your very best.

onthegomom said...

I am just so pissed right now. I CANNOT believe someone had the audacity to ask you about how you choose to spend YOUR money. The money was donated to HELP YOU AND YOUR KIDS. Not to justify every penny spent or how. I know negativity hurts and I cannot image how you would feel. Just know that there are people out there that are not judgmental A**HOLES and we do support you. Please do not let them get to you and know that you are doing the right thing for your family and doing what you know how to do today. That's the absolute best you can do. Not one single person on this planet is perfect and for them to pass judgment on you as a parent, as a caretaker, just infuriates me. **End of Rant** Sorry about that... sigh. {hugs Dawn}

Abby said...

Ditto on what everybody else said. *hugs & prayers*

Just to add to the love from everyone else, I love your blog for the comments other people make too! After a rough day for me, I have to admit that the comment about you using their money for a hooker if you want nearly killed me. If that would make you happier, consider my donation to be part of that fund!! lol. ;)

Patty H said...

It's too bad that those people who are casting judgment on you aren't taking a real hard look at themselves in the mirror. What jackasses! You are carrying a great weight on your shoulders and you have the best sense of humor about life. You are so much stronger than you may think and it's okay to have weak moments. But it's even better to have great moments once in a while with yourself or your kids....especially when you can't have great moments every day. Life isn't perfect and neither are we...so tell them to kiss your arse!

Anonymous said...

I have 6 kids, 3 with mental health issues of varying degrees. I have been through what you describe for years and have done the inpatient treatment with 2 of the kids. The other will be fine with outpatient. Anyway, I totally understand when you say you are tired. It is a tired that no one can understand who hasn't been there, done that. ((((HUGS)))) For what it is worth, when I read that you took the girls for a pedicure, my first reaction was "Thank God that money is there for you to have special moments like this with your girls". I have one sandwiched in the middle of the other 2 with serious mental illnesses. Taking time for them is very important. It is needed. Good for you for finding a way to do it. I would just block old grouchy pants LOL Hang in there and know that it does get better. My kids with mental illness are now almost 28 and 22. It IS better. Always a struggle for them but their lives are in a much better place than I ever imagined they could be.

Mary said...

I donated, and I want you to spend it any damn way you want to. If I wanted to tie strings to it, I would've said so. Geez. Some people need to mind their own beeswax. This really ticks me off.

Sending you all hugs and good wishes. I hope they can figure out how to help Jackson this time.

DocMisty said...

Count the supportive and positive responses here. The single rainy cloud should be completely ignored. They are likely unhappy and taking it out on others. Imagine every positive response written on a piece of paper. That pile of papers would completely cover the nasty one - I mean you wouldn't even be able to find it if you tried.

I donated money and would like to reaffirm that the money I gave you is yours and your family's. Blow it on whatever you want: anything that makes one of you smile, eases the stress a little bit, takes a burden off your shoulders (get rid of that mold!), or bury it in the yard. Whatever you want to do - it's yours, and I'm glad to help.

The time my mom and I laughed so hard together about your classic shopping trip description was worth ten times what I contributed. We had to stop half-way to wipe the tears and catch our breath from laughing so hard. Thank you for all you share with us. Thank you!

Mum - Mainly Upbringing Monsters said...

After reading your latest post & thinking the same as the other people that have commented, I actually have another question to ask.
How is Clay since he was almost attacked & strangled by his brother?
Is he OK?
Is there a carers program or something that is available for you to have someone come over for a few hours to help out at all being as you have a child in hospital?
I'm not religious so I won't pray but I think about your family often & it makes me cry to think that there's nothing or no one out there to help you out at home.

Anonymous said...

Too tired to even come up with words right now. Wish I could give you a big hug. Take you out for coffee! You're going through so very much and it breaks my heart that others feel the need to stick their noses into your life and make things worse. Praying like crazy about everything!

Galatians 1:3-5 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

WeaselMomma said...

I say that the pedicures were a great investment in your sanity and time with the girls.

Good luck with the bathroom repairs.

Unknown said...

Dawn I know some of what you're going through with the kids and I want you to know you're not alone either. Mine aged 17, 15, 13, 9, 7 and 5 and combination autistic spectrum and ADHD.
Coping with this isnt easy especially on your own, even though you may have the best friends in the world around you, working with this 24/7 is supremely difficult.
There is no answer and no magical cure and this is maybe the worst part to handle.
Others tell you to get more rest or take time off but it isnt that easy to do as a one off and damn near impossible on a regular basis.
The problem is you end up so overcrowded with things to do that you end up addressing the most important things that are happening at that time and never seem to get around to the other things like making sure the other kids are shown that they are appreciated. I know Im guilty of this too.
Like I said I dont know the answers but I try to take one day at a time, rest when I can and accept the help of my friends when it is given. True friends dont expect payment in return and dont question your decisions. Lean on them in times of need and look forward to the day when this period has passed and you can thank them for their help.

Ruth said...

Okay you know what?? Screw that person, who are they to say what you do with the money people give you?
I gave money to you to do whatever you wanted with. I also sent you a gift card to Sonic...do I give a crap whether or not you buy something healthy like a salad or buy all your kids dessert?? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
The whole point it to help you through!
Anyone who has been reading your blog knows you are thrifty, you shop at ALdi's for Gosh sakes!!! I mean anyone who has to bag their own groceries with kids running all over is a saint!! LOL
I hope that judgmental person reads your blog and all the comments that follow , if he/she gave then rest assured that money went to a major need, but you know what sometimes a treat for you and your kids IS a major NEED!! Sometimes you have to do something just so you don't go crazy!!! Just to make you feel good...so you spend that money on whatever you want...I will still give when I can too!!
Hang in there Dawn..we're still here for you!!
And don't waste your time apologizing to everyone on your blog...it takes you too much energy, the last thing you need is guilt!!!
Ruth K.

Momw/2girls said...

I signed up for a google account just so I could comment on this post. Dawn, thank you for your blog and EVERYTHING that you write! This is your blog and no where is there a rule that says every post has to be funny or full of puppy dogs and rainbows. Life doesn't work that way. These are difficult things that you are going through and if it helps you to write about them here, then you do that as much as you want. If people don't like it or criticize you for that..... well you know what, they can click away, so don't listen to them.

I made a donation as a gift to you, to thank you for the many hours of enjoyable, thought provoking reading you've given to me (and several of my friends) for free. I've never done something like this before, and when I told my husband the what and why, he got tears in his eyes and said he was glad I'd done it.

And now, I see that people have been critical of the pedicures. That just infuriates me to no end. You know what your kids need, no one is a better judge of that than you are. So I'll be sending you another donation so you can get ANOTHER pedicure session in with your girls, or buy chocolate, or a Target shopping session, or whatever you want.

I am reminded of my absolute favorite quote - I usually tell this to my friends when they've been on the recieving end of criticism or judgemental people. "Be who you are and say what you think, because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind DON'T MATTER." -Dr. Seuss

You keep your chin up! You are doing a fabulous job at the hardest job ever invented - being a mom. We will continue to send prayers your way, for you, for Jackson, and for all your kiddos!

Nancy said...

Kudos to you for taking such good care of your kids! One thing I learned from my years as a single mom with little money was the difference between a need and a want. What you did for your daughters was a NEED! As you well know, their mental well-being is just as important as their physical well-being.

Anonymous said...


I think someone should nominate Dawn for her heroic efforts raising children and helping us all know life is life and not always roses. I can not nominate because a family member works for the program.

Hang in there Dawn! maggieb!

bxz&tloveya said...

Dawn, I have never commented before I just sit here and mostly enjoy your posts (sometimes I cry lately). I wish you and your family a happy, healthy life! After your post about the pedicures I thought about commenting that you owe NOONE an explanation of the way you spend your money! I wish I would have posted then, but here I am now to tell you it is your money! And to anyone who thinks that they deserve an opinion- you are too controlling! Let it go! If you donated money because you appreciate Dawn's blog then good for you, but that money is not yours anymore and you have no say over money which is not yours.

Dawn you are amazing! I hope you remember that as you go about your day. Suze Orman says "people first, money second, things third." You (being the amazing person you are) already get this! Good for you!

KAT said...


I was so angry last night when I read your post, that I felt it was better to wait until later to comment. First, don't listen to those people that are being judgemental - its not worth it. I know it hurts! However, they haven't had to walk in your shoes for one second, and if they did, they may want a cute petticure too! One thing that I realized this morning was that for the few nasty comments you recieved, there are hundreds of posts supporting you in what you are doing, and being compasionate towards your situation.
Please don't let those Negative Nells bring you down! You do what is best for you, and your sweet family. No one else can make that judgement, except for you.
Here is hoping that the week picks up and it ends on a high note.

J said...


I have been thinking about this ALL NIGHT. How dare that woman question how you spend your money. And make no mistake, everything donated is YOUR money--we donated to YOU. If she wants to dictate what you do with what she donates (and we don't even know if she did), then she can give you a gift card to the grocery store or whatever. She can send you five pounds of flour. Honestly! For my 21st birthday about 30 years ago (I mean 10), my glamorous stepmother took me for a facial. I have never had another one, but I have never forgotten it in all this time. What you have given your daughters is immeasurable: 1) You listened and responded when Lexi asked for Mommy time, 2) You showed them how to take some time for themselves and 3) You gave them memories they will have FOREVER. They will not remember the hamburger meat you bought them for dinner, but they will remember this. Don't even think twice!! You are amazing and we love you!

Winona said...

Dawn, people can be idiots. Don't let them bug you - the money that we all donated to you is to be used however best you see fit, and where it is needed. Kids definitely need some kid-time, and low-cost pampering is worth it!

Sharlyn said...

I couldn't say it better than others already said. Virtual hugs you for all the laughter and your honesty. We love you!

Sarah said...

God bless you, Dawn, really, I mea it! I am praying for you and your family! I can't believe some people are so spiteful and filled with anger that they judge you for spending a little $ on your kids. Don't feel like you need to apologize for your feelings.

I am glad that Jackson is getting the help that he needs and I hope that you will see, if not now then someday, what a great Mom you are! You have been dealt a lot of adversity to put it very mildly and just the fact that you're getting out of bed is victory at this point.

I do not have children, but I can guess from my friends that do that having a child like Jackson is one of the hardest things because you don't want to see him hurting and suffering. I can't even imagine.

I personally have been hospitalized for depression and anxiety but have never dealt with rage like that.

I wish there were some words of wisdom I could offer you, but I'm keenly aware that there is nothing I can say that will make things better.

I know that Isaiah 41:10 has been an encouragement to me in my darkest days and I hope it will be to you as well...I don't want to come across as someone that throws a Bible verse at you and expects it to magically cure you or whatever. On the contrary. All I know is that especially when I'm down, it is extremely important to surround myself with truth, and I know no better truth than the Word of God.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, yes-I will uphold you with my right hand of righteousness."--Is 41:10

Hang in there, girl! You will make it! :)

Mystii said...

((hugs)) Dawn, all we can do as parents is the best we can. Babies aren't born with instruction manuals, unfortunately. Stop beating yourself up!

As for the personal stuff in the blog, well, you know, it is YOUR blog. There will always be those to whom the glass is half empty and haven't learned how to look on the positive side or treat others positively. They're not worth your time. They just aren't.

Do you have a personal motto? (I'm betting that you do.) Mine is, "Are we having any fun yet?". If the answer is no, then I have to wonder why not. I know that looking at things that way won't help what is going on with Jackson. I would be worried silly (and feeling guilty) if one of my kids had gone though that. But maybe asking yourself if you're having any fun once in a while (and having some) will at least help you and the other kids cope.

((hugs)) again

- Mystii

Sue Bohlin said...

I prayed for you (again!) before commenting, Dawn. I am so very, very sorry for how hard EVERYTHING is. But I also wanted to affirm you for your transparency in sharing what life is like when severe depression moves in and wreaks havoc in a family. Jackson has a *huge* reservoir of unexpressed rage and sadness and pain, all of which is perfectly understandable, but knowing that doesn't help when he's operating out of sheer emotion and no rationality. I've been the mom with the teenage son in the adolescent psych unit, so my "I'm so sorry" and my prayers are permeated with been-there, done-that understanding.

You are doing GREAT. I, along with zillions of others, am so proud of you!

Darcie said...

Dawn, Sorry about everything. We all gave the money freely, it's yours now to do with what you feel appropriate. Don't feel you need to justify what you do. On Jackson, I have one of those, but as he as aged and matured (and gotten a LOT bigger). He now recognizes that he could kill me or his sister with a single blow. He has gotten much better and is very careful with all that testosterone! Grades still suck, but he's a nice person to be around.

Amanda said...

I just want to offer some (((hugs))). You're right. People who don't have kids or have dealt with kids with behavior issues don't really know. I get what I call a$$vice a lot. I have 2 boys on the autism spectrum. They're high functioning, so out in public, to look at them, you can't really tell. The younger one also looked like a classic case of ADHD. He's never slept. Not in all his 4 years. We were still waking several times a night until we made the hard decision to medicate. It's hard. I can't imagine what it's like dealing with behavior issues that ADHD and depression can bring on in a child plus everything else you're going through, and yet doing it as a single parent. I for one am glad you said to hell with everything else and took that one little moment to get pedicures. Every once in a great while, you need a little pick me up like that. That little bit can go a long way in the morale for the whole house.

Sara J. Henry said...

Hey, that mold in the bathroom (and behind the walls where you can't see it) can make you seriously ill - especially small people. Yes, get it fixed!

(And I'm sure you're getting the absolute best medical care for your middle son - and I'm sure he's been checked for bipolar - but a friend's son had similar issues ... she was an FBI agent who could put him in a bodylock if need be ... and much of it turned out to be the reaction to medication he was on he didn't need. None of which helps you now, but hang in there, and keep asking questions, and best of luck to you.)

Round Belly said...

Wow Dawn, You are amazing. I thought my 12 year old boy was getting out of hand with his autism and truancy issues, but you have it much worse- thank you for writing. It is so nice to know someone else is feeling as much at a loss as we are. We have now county mental health helping with him and several other programs.

Thanks for hanging in there.

Lesley said...

Anyone who has donated $ should not be questioning how you spend it. That is inconsiderate and rude. You do what you need to do. Anyone who has read your blog for some time should know that you would not go blow it all on something that is not needed. Good for you for taking the girls to get pedicures!!

Fawnsy said...

People just like control... they give you money they want to control you! Anyways, do what you want with your donations, ignore the negative people.

DWOP said...

Dawn my heart breaks for you and your kids. I am deeply saddened that someone would email you about taking your girls for pedis. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Elizabeth said...

It's really sad that when people open up their wallets to help someone out or give them a monetary gift that they feel like they have the right to tell the recipient what to spend the money on. Any time you spend a few dollars on something fun or buy something that 'they' think is frivolous or not a necessity, criticism will follow. Sad indeed.

Get that bathroom fixed, and kudos to you for helping someone else out by giving them the much needed work.

I hope things get better for you and your family in the coming year. Most of us are rooting for you and don't care what you spend the money on because we know that it will go for things that you need, whether it be a mold free bathroom or a day out for your kids.

Laura said...

Dawn, I've been reading your blog since 2007 and this is the first time I've posted a comment. I'm in tears right now... I'm a single Mom also trying to do it all. Recently my older son was diagnosed with ADHD combined type and ODD. You're it is scary. It's downright terrifying, and very hard not to blame yourself or at the very least the mistakes you've made. You took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for letting me know my boys and I are not alone.

Raine said...

Oh Dawn, I cried my heart out reading your latest post and all the comments.

Most of what I wanted to say is already here, but a friend once told me 'God never gives any of us more then he knows we can handle' and I think that is particularly true here. Times are hard now but you each have the strength see it though, not just you but all of you children as well.

I have ordered both of your books and can't wait for them to arrive! Perhaps these tough times can somehow inspire a new book to reach out to parents of children with mental illness and encourage us all to be more aware and more supportive of these too often hidden issues.

My thoughts are with you and all of your family.

Melbourne, Australia

Unknown said...

Hey Dawn,

They're not Pokemon cards, no kids snuck them into a shopping cart, but it seemed sooooo appropriate to do a [post]card auction on eBay for you: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130477328675

Stephanie Honeycutt said...


You are an awesome mom. I hope you go and do something for yourself, because if anyone deserves it, it is you. **BIG HUGS** I understand what you are going through and the person who questioned you really needs to get a life.

Amy said...


I've been a reader of yours since the very beginning and I don't know of a more unselfish, frugal person than you. You have done an amazing job mothering SIX kids and making do with the slim resources you have been given. If anyone deserves a pedicure with her daughters it is YOU and I can't imagine any rational person who would fault you.

Some people are just so unhappy in their own lives that they have to spread that around, but, that is not how the majority feels. You should spend this money how you see fit. It was not given to you with an "I owe you" attached that you disclose and justify how you spend it. It was given to you by people who trust you to use it for the things YOU need. And, it's obvious that on that particular day you NEEDED to have a pedicure with your daughters. Now -- away with the guilt you beautiful courageous woman!!!

Also, anyone who would blame your parenting for Jackson's behavior, or even imply such a thing is being totally and completely ridiculous. None of us are perfect parents, but you aren't exactly an addict raising your kids on the streets. Those comments can be dismissed right out the window without further consideration.

God Bless you and your beautiful family!!!

Jennifer and Clay said...

I recently found your blog and your troubles with your sons struck a chord with me. I have a bi-polar son who is also ADHD, OCD, attachment disorder...ODD. He was hospitalized at 5 and it has now been 5 years that we have been dealing with the ups and downs...a lot of downs. It is so hard not to blame yourself - or kick a wall...or something. You keep doing what you are doing - I understand...we have 4 other children and the confusion and turmoil that they go through when the oldest is "off" is so hard to watch - Hang in there...and thank you for being so honest on your blog - it helps me to know that there is someone out there who understands.

Toad said...

Dawn, hang in there. Your forthright honesty about your struggles and your kids' struggles is truly wonderful. Please don't feel that you need to hide. None of us are perfect. We can only keep taking the next step and doing the best we can with the situation we have.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I have only just started reading your blog & my heart is breaking for you. I understand the absolutely drained single Mum time, but what you are coping with seems to me to be so absolutely overwhelming.

When people donate money, they are donating to you - they get no say in how you spend it, it is up to upir discretion. And giving your girls some special Mommy time is just as important as fixing the bathroom or buying new shoes at this point in time.

Mental health in kids is such an important issues and so needs to be talked about. I feel for you baby as he must be so confused and misearable as well.

Huge hugs Dawn, you & your family are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, you don't have to answer for your choices. You can just delete mail from people who are judging you, pointing fingers at you, questioning your integrity, and otherwise being jerks. Really, you can. Just delete it!

Or, if you can't bear to delete, file it in a folder called "Jerks" and read the mail in there when you want to feel like someone you don't know is beating you up, hey?

But my advice is to just ignore and delete. I've been on the net since 1994, and met my share of people who have nothing better to do than judge me, question my decisions, play passive-aggressive headgames, and otherwise hassle me. These sorts obviously have perfect lives, so they should be off living them and enjoying them, rather than judging you or me or anyone else. Just dismiss them.

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and heart.

lori said...

follow your heart. and do what you know is best for yourself and your family. i would hardly call a pedicure a gross misuse of money, but it does put a smile on your face when you look down at those pretty toes. and that is just we want to see. some smiles.

Melinda said...

Dawn, My heart goes out to you. I have a child with ADHD and since she reached middle school, especially, I have experienced some of the most difficult years of my life. I also have a son with cystic fibrosis, so I understand what you mean about there being no "shame' about discussing a physical illness vs. ADHD. It shouldn't be that way. Neither are anyone's "fault."
You & your family are in my prayers.

marythemom said...

I have two seriously mentally ill teenagers and a third who is starting to show signs of bipolar disorder. I also have a "neurotypical" 11 year old. I know how hard it is to "walk on eggshells" and try to meet everyone's needs and keep everyone safe, including taking care of myself, while doctors are trying to adjust medications and find the right med cocktail.

The biggest help for me was finding support. There's a support program called Visions for Tomorrow through NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) that should have local support groups. I also found a lot of info and support online. Visions for Tomorrow in Illinois http://il.nami.org/visions_for_tomorrow.htm. NAMI Greater Chicago support groups - http://www.namigc.org/content/supportGroups/SupportGroupsFall2010.pdf

You don't have to go through this alone.

Hugs and prayers,
Mary in TX

Susan said...

You go Dawn! I know this isn't funny to you at all but you did give me a huge laugh. I've been in a situation lately that I thought defined the word clusterf**k. But baby you've got me beat. Bless all of you.

Fine Stitchery said...

God Bless you, girl!! Just shut your ears to anybody who is critical of you!! They have not been in your situation and they have no right to judge you! I just ssent you some $ and you just spend it however you want, I don't care. But you do NEED to get that bathroom fixed before there is structural damage!!!!!!!

Ok - let me tell you I, too was a single mom but 'only' of 3, their dad left when shortly before the last was born. There was a time, too, when he just dropped the kids' insurance and didn't even tell me - it wasn't until the middle one was having some medical issues that I even found out. 2 of my kids were ADHD before it was even a thing - well, it's bad to deal with now it was worse - if possible - then. Let me tell you that all 3 of mine are grown, college graduates, some with advanced degrees and all are productive, contributing members of society! It wasn't easy, it wasn't always fun but it was worth it! The oldest does bio-chemical research, finding new drugs and new uses for existing drugs, the middle one is a special ed teacher and the youngest is a software designer. Their dad doesn't even know them or their children. They all changed their last names to my family's when they turned 18.

Dawn, I'm telling you all this in hopes that it will offer some small measure of encouragement. I so remember the feelings of discouragement and total loss! Lots of prayer, lots of help from lots of people - it took me a long time to learn to accept it! - and lots of help from Above. My 'mantra': with God all things are possible! And constantly reminding myself that God doesn't give you more than you can handle! From Sparkle

Twissa said...

Oneida, I get that you live on a fixed income, but it seems you are maybe too generous for your own good. If you can't afford something nice for yourself like that, you shouldn't be donating. Maybe donate your time instead of money.

I have also been a child with a brother just like Jackson. I was often "forgotten" and my mom never had the time to do things like go get a pedicure. What Dawn did was an act of love: not something frivolous. I would've killed to have my mother do SOMETHING like that. Anything.

Someone showed empathy for you. I think that's a mistake. Next time, don't donate to a mother with 6 kids who will want "frivolous things" ike a pedicure, or a toy.

nutralady2001 said...

You know I wasn't going to comment but can't help myself.

Dawn you and your daughters deserve some "girlie" time. I can't believe some-one questioned you doing what you did after reading that Lexi asked if you could spend some time together.

Maybe the person who was critical doesn't have daughters. Her "excuse" didn't really sit well with me either especially as you had already said that Lexi needed you and you have blogged about your major difficulties.

I too am on a fixed (low)income but I'm going to donate a few $$ come pension day and you can be as frivolous as you want with it heck you can even clolour your hair purple for all I care....much love and lots of prayers xxxxx

Tess Julia said...

Wow, that's a lot of comments. I can't imagine you have time to read them all, but if you do, I just wanted to say to hang in there. Each of us, as mothers, do the best we can each day, some are good days and other days, not so much. I'm struggling with a very emotional preteen myself right now, and I feel that not only do I not say the right thing, but I'm not even sure what the right thing is! I hope things start looking up for you and your son soon.

Lauren said...

Sending lots of prayers your way! I'm so sorry to hear about how hard things are for you right now. I used to follow your blog every day, but then I had a baby...and well, you know. Life happens. I recently caught back up and learned of the divorce and your issues with the boys. Honey, you definitely have your big girl panties on right now, don't you. You are in my thoughts all the time and I pray that something BIG (in a good way) is on the horizon for you! Stay strong and know that you have lots of people praying for you and supporting you. And to the jerk who had the nerve to comment on the pedicures....F*%@ 'em! You and the girls deserve a little pampering.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty. It is what will save you. When I first started checking in on your blog, I knew that I was not getting the whole story. How? Been there. I've been through a divorce. I've had people judge me or leave my friendship because they think that divorce is like leprosy. I've had a girlfriend actually tell me to my face that she preffered to only interact with nuclear families.
I've had an ex-husband who was unstable, children with anger management issues. This is real life, not the Truman show. I love that you are willing to get honest and I am here to tell you it will get better, even blissful as your courage builds.

Best wishes, and thank you!

Alison said...

Please know that there are many many of us out here quietly rooting for all of you.

--AlisonH at spindyeknit.com (Sorry, Blogger takes you to a dead link and I don't know how to fix that.)

Mary said...

I was looking back on your blog posts and read this, I am not usually a commenter, tend to think my thoughts are not relevant/necessary, but I really wanted to let you know that you are not alone when it comes to the issues of mental illness and your child. My daughter struggles with ADHD, mood disorder and probably more that we have yet to diagnose. I have said that many times- even using diabetes as an example. I am not a crappy parent and I and my child are not "bad" people because she has issues. If I could fix it and make her stop doing these things I would. Hang in there Dawn, I know we are both doing the best we can!

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