Category Archives: Uncategorized

Send in the Clowns

My husband is often my hero. He’s seemingly fearless, funny, and most of all. he is a dedicated dad and husband. He works extremely hard at his full-time job, pushes himself physically with his weight-loss goals, pushes himself mentally as a full-time student, and spiritually considers himself a work-in-progress as he consistently finds way to participate in his Church. 

I consider myself very fortunate to have him as my partner and even more fortunate to be able to witness his shortcomings. He is fairly public about his battle against depression. Because of that, I’m finally ready to go public about mine…

Social media is a great tool- I enjoy making status updates that are clever, Instagraming pictures of my kids that are funny, and Tweeting about politics and religion. I try to keep it real by updating about the giant mess my kids (usually Jonah) made or posting a picture with my messy dining room table in the background, but by not being upfront about my depression I feel like I’m hiding behind a permanent Instagram filter- smoothing out the roughness, lighting the dark corners.

In high school I had my first real defining moment of realizing I was depressed. I vividly remember looking in the medicine cabinet to see if anything in there would make me feel better. Fortunately, there was nothing more than some Alka-Seltzer and Ibuprofen. 

Depression is a disease, an illness that never fully goes away. The way it manifests itself is different for everyone. For me, I feel everything more intensely but simultaneously feel a numbing dullness. It’s a struggle between wanting to surround yourself with others, so you can put on your happy face and feel closer to normal and wanting to curl up, staying inside for days seeing no one.

Guilt is also a nice little side effect of depression. When things are going perfectly, you feel guilty that others are cold, hungry and without shelter. Watching the news is next to impossible for me. You feel guilty for feeling depressed, because it could always be worse. “What more do you want? You have everything you need!”

The crazy thing about depression is that it can come and go… Often staying gone for months or even years at a time. Nothing triggers it. Nothing makes it fully disappear. 

I have suffered from post-partum depression, anxiety combined with depression, and years with no depression at all. I have taken prescription medication, I have been to therapy, I have read books about depression, scoured the Internet for resources and blogs, and even tried to will myself to not be depressed. 

There were times I wanted to end it all, times I couldn’t get out of bed to go to work, times I didn’t eat for days on end… It’s ugly and it feels weak. 

Depression isn’t weakness. As time has gone on, I’ve found things that work for me, I’ve found patience that I needed to have with myself, and I’ve found an appreciation for who depression makes me.

Depression intensifies all of my emotions- especially the great ones. Depression makes me a great listener. Depression gives me compassion. Depression gives me empathy. Depression makes me try harder to make you laugh. Depression forces me to check on the people I love more often. Depression makes it easier to appreciate light after the darkness lifts.

A lot of things about depression are ugly, but those things make it beautiful.

Advertisements

It’s the Most Germ-Infested Time of the Year

It’s the most germ-infested time of the year.
With the kids bringing home sickness and everyone telling you “don’t forgot your flu vaccine!”
It’s the most germ-infested time of the year.

It’s the sick-sickly-est season of all.
With nasaley greetings and postponed sick-day meetings
When friends come to call
It’s the most germ-infested time of the year.

There’ll be viruses for hosting
Fevers will have us toasting
And bundling up against snow
With scary Ebola stories
And tales of the glories
Of the healthy days long, long ago

It’s the most germ-infested time of the year.
With the kids sickness-swapping and everyone coughing and runny noses needing to blow,
It’s the most germ-infested time of the year.

Transparent Parenting

It’s always humbling when I get a text, call, or email from a mommy-friend asking for advice or insight. It’s usually accompanied with, “you’re such an expert” or “you make it seem so easy”. Just writing that made me cringe a little. I don’t want this to come across as me passive-aggressively tooting my own horn. Quite the opposite.

Parenting is hard. Really, super, crazy hard. Every parent deserves to know that they are not alone. For every photo I share of my happy baby, there are an equal number of times he is pouty or crying. For every Instagram of a delicious dinner I post, there are five times as many photos I could share of Chinese take-out, empty pizza boxes or receipts from meals we ate out. Every status I share about how funny or smart my kids are could be rivaled by screaming, biting, and crying updates. I like sharing the good. It makes me happy. The good things in my day outweigh the bad by an infinite amount.

The good doesn’t come easily. Sometimes, you can go days without any good at all. This is especially true when there is sickness. My family has been battling a nasty illness for about a week now and I pulled my back out the other day. My smallest nursing bit me while eating and broke the skin. If you just grabbed your boob and winced at the thought of it, you’re on the right track. Lots of little problems can be worse than one, big problem. As my oldest was getting ready for school this morning, she had a nose bleed and as she “ran” to the bathroom, she created a trail of blood along the carpet. It was everywhere- on her clothes, in her hair, on her feet. When my middle kiddo saw it, he puked. This was all very inconsiderate of them since I hadn’t even been armed with coffee yet.

This isn’t a plea for pity or an attempt to shock the childless into taking a vow of chastity. It’s an effort to be transparent- to let you know you’re not alone. My days aren’t perfect. My Pinterest board is not remotely indicative of the meals I make or how I decorate my home. My kids are human, just like me. We yell. We cry. We lose our patience. But man, is it worth it.

I often say, “You can’t appreciate the rainbow without a little rain.” It’s been raining a lot here lately, but getting that little unsolicited “I love you, Mommy” is all it takes to color my world.

Amy Glass, you might need a hug… Or to get laid.

My husband kindly sent me a link this morning with his own little personal message stating, “Have you seen this crazy woman’s blog post?” While he is known to exaggerate some (he has convinced our kids he laid all the brick work to our house even though he works at a desk as a sales manager), this was a gross understatement.

Amy Glass wrote an extremely out-of-touch and ignorant blog regarding women, parenting, and “feminism” here. This was published by Thought Catalog to drive traffic to their site. I’m more than happy to aide them in their efforts in order to highlight some of the more ignorant notions of this promotion of anti-feminism.

Amy Glass, who I assume to be a young, twenty-something who likely enjoys HBO’s “Girls” as much as I do appears to be a driven women who aspires to empower women. This, however, is where our similarities likely end. Ms. Glass opens with references to feminism and having to “fight back vomit” anytime someone argues feminism is about validating the choices we make as women. Frankly, that is the definition of feminism.

As mother to a daughter, I encourage her to be confident and dream big when it comes to her future. She knows she can be a doctor, president, a mom or, if she really wants to, all three. If she wants to be an escort (a high-class one, hopefully), I would fully stand behind her. Contrary to what my husband may jest, prostitution wasn’t my chosen career, but I DID choose to become a mother, which means supporting our children in becoming secure, independent adults… Regardless of gender. Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t wish for my daughter to become an escort or hooker. I also hope to fulfill one of my other parenting duties by being able to provide better options for her than that.

Speaking of parenting duties, let me elaborate a little upon some of the daily things a parent must do:

We must feed, clothe, and bathe them. Sounds easy, right? Feeding them requires making a list, doing the shopping, storing the food, preparing the food, ensuring there are clean dishes, serving the food, feeding them the food ourselves if they are young, cleaning up, and doing the dishes. We must do this 3-5 times each day. Clothing them and keeping them clean are equally time-consuming. For time’s sake, I’ll spare the details.

Choosing to become a mother (one who stays home nonetheless) was one of the more feminist choices I could make, for me. I chose to embrace my anatomical abilities, deliver three (huge) babies, run a household, and manage our finances, all while educating small children in various aspects of life. My daily tasks are varied, exhausting, and thankless.

I have the pleasure of knowing many kinds of mothers: mothers who stay home, mothers who work outside the home, mothers with PhDs, mothers who didn’t finish high school, mothers with one child, mothers with eight children, mothers who work FROM home (aka superheroes), and so-on and so-on. Would I ever venture to say one is better than another? Never… Not in a million years.

As Ms. Glass points out, it is noble to be independent, work your way up the corporate ladder, or travel the world. This CAN be done after children. It can be done before children. It can be done WHILE you are raising your children. Saying it can’t be done, is anti-feminist and places limits based on gender and circumstance. You know what else is noble? Raising children.

When my life comes to a close, many many years from now, I will be surrounded by my children. My husband, who I support and who supported me will be by my side. I will have lived a meaningful life full of love and joy with many happy memories. I doubt I will die rich with a large inheritance to leave behind, but what I will leave behind is much greater.

I will leave behind children, turned adults. Two men and a woman who are secure in themselves. Two men and a woman who will go on to love their children and spouses. Well-adjusted adults who may be lawyers, teachers, janitors, doctors, mothers, fathers, garbage collectors, or even president.

They are my legacy, and they will be all that matters in the end.

Ode to Wine (Pregnant Sorrow)

Wine. Oh, wine.

Thou art so fine.

If I weren’t knocked up,

You would be mine (all the time).

 

Your flavor so inviting.

Your aroma so sweet.

God knows I could use you,

Whilst my beloved rubs my swollen feet.

 

Our estrangement is so unjust.

Life without you, unfair.

Nine months of separation,

With two other children- much to bear.

 

Alas, there is life inside me.

Growing, changing every day.

Sober, stressed, and wound-tight

Is how I shall stay.

 

When we are reunited,

What a reunion that will be.

I’ll drink you all in, but only a glass

– or three.

Baby Proof me, Baby!

Girls are different than boys.  Very different.  I’m not just talking va-jay-jays vs. pee-pees here.  I’m not going to dwell much on the scientific aspect of this statement, but rather on the generalizations and stereotypes… I ain’t no scientist!

When Jady (The Chatterbox) was a baby, she was so sweet and quiet (that changed).  She would play quietly in her crib in the morning and greet you with a smile upon her retrieval from her cage crib.  As a toddler, she listened when I told her no.  (Yes, I’m one of THOSE parents… I say that horrible word.) She stayed out of drawers she wasn’t supposed to get into and never lifted the lid to the toilet until she started potty-training.

Our 18-month-old, Jack, however, is quite the opposite.  While he was a very alert and snugly baby, he has been hell on wheels ever since he became mobile.  Compounding this problem was his desire to hang with the vampire babies and not ever sleep.  (Based on what I know about vampires from Twilight and True Blood, they aren’t always the best group to get mixed up with.)  I don’t mean this like most moms mean it when they casually say their baby never sleeps.  I literally mean- He. Did. Not. Sleep. I’ll share more on this topic another time.  After 13 months, he finally realized that sleeping at night really isn’t so bad.  After all, when he was more well-rested, he had more energy to run around and get into things.

This morning my son was independently playing in the playroom adjacent to the living room and I was doing what I normally do- folding and hanging laundry.  When I walked by the trash can I noticed Jack had “hidden” several blocks in this very clever spot.  When I came back, he was sitting up on the couch smiling his cheesiest grin at me.

The other day, I was folding laundry and Jack pulled out a drawer in the kitchen and began taking out every single piece of grilling tools we own.  (Which reminds me, how many tools does a self-proclaimed “Grill-master” need?)  Later in the day, while putting laundry away (starting to see a trend here?), he came in with several of his sister’s headbands that he had pulled off the back of the top of the toilet from her clever little paper-towels-wrapped-in-fabric-used-to-hold-headbands-holder.

I know what you’re thinking- my LORD this woman does a lot of laundry.  Yes, yes I do.  You’re probably also wondering why I don’t watch my child better.  Firstly, he is fast- lightning fast.  I’m pretty sure his Goldfish must be infused with Speed.  Secondly, I’m pregnant.  I’m not even going to elaborate upon that.  In my defense, we have never had an ER trip or even a scrape warranting a Band-Aid.  He is usually sporting some bruise on his head, but when you’re head is 25% larger than the rest of your body, that’s bound to happen.

So based on my minimal, non-scientific experience, I’ve noted that girls tend to be more calm and better listeners, while boys tend to ignore you and do all the crazy things they want to do.  However, around 4 or 5 or so the boys start listening better and around 4 or 5 the girls start ignoring you and/or sassing back at you.  As the years progress, these changes magnify.  While it may be time to go ahead and baby proof our house, I’ll gladly take toys strewn about and chasing waddling around after an active little guy in exchange for the lack of conniving, sassy, attitude that I will have inevitably dealt with a few years prior.

I may even invest in a fancy baby helmet.

Sugar and Spice or Snips and Snails?

The Hubster and I were hopeful and excited about our plan to wait to find out the gender of our soon-to-be-added pea to our pod.  However, our four-year-old was pretty convincing of her need to know immediately if she was to have a little sister (to dress, hold and play with) or another little brother (to ignore and secretly adore).  The first 4 1/2 months went by quickly with little thought to the gender of our new little one.  We had various summer activities, vacations, and birthdays to distract us.  Now we are a week out from the ultrasound and it just can’t come soon enough!

Ultimately, finding out gender now makes the most sense for our family.  We have two winter babies, a boy and girl, and we have saved every iota of baby clothing, toys, bedding, gear, etc fathomable.  We are pretty set in the grand scheme of things.  Having said that, the sooner we can purge our house of all gender-specific baby clothing and toys, the more sanity we will have reserved for the inevitable long nights that come with having a newborn.

How does one part with that much stuff they have accumulated over the years?  Many of my daughter’s things have so much sentimental meaning to me- as I purchased them when I was a single mom, living on a very meager income.  I worked hard to give her nice things, and parting with them will be difficult.  However, I’m not about to have an intervention from Hoarders, so I’m ready to clear some space for new sentiments and memories to be made.

How do you clear out your clutter that has value?  Consignment?  Garage sale?  Gifting to a friend?  Donating to those in need?

I’d also love to hear about your gender ultrasounds or if you decided to have it be a surprise on your baby’s birthday!

I got paid to write this… Kind of.

Admittedly, I don’t do much at my job.  I’m a phone operator for a hospital where I work a mere two evenings per week.  The long eight-hour-shifts are usually spent on Wikipedia reading about random US Presidents, texting the fascinating details to my less-than-amused husband, buying more books on Amazon, or silently judging people in my head.

The guilt a normal person would feel being paid to do nothing is easily alleviated by the absolutely insane phone calls I receive and laziness of my co-workers.  When I’m not listening to stories about how a patient was tested for pot in their system without their consent, I’m answering questions about the goings-on in the community regarding fireworks on the 4th of July.  These are real stories, folks!  If for some reason phone calls are slow that night, I’m entreated with stories about the Jerry-Springer-esq stories of my co-worker’s personal lives.

But I’m getting off track before I’ve even begun.  The real reason I’m blogging is to share with you the wonderful things about my job- the sites I browse at work to keep me from ripping my ears off my head!  My favorite site is www.YoungHouseLove.com.  It’s a quirky, fun blog by a young, 30-something couple who have taken on various DIY projects and have renovated two beautiful homes.  They are creative, fresh and always have something helpful written in a fun way.  I’ve followed the blog for two years now, and it has yet to get old.

While browsing YHL, I came across www.unclutterer.com by pure accident.  It’s a simple, uncluttered (imagine that!) site that breaks down simple ways to de-clutter your life, house, garage, office, and even your relationships.  It is styled in mostly a Q&A fashion and most questions seem pretty common.  The answers are straight-forward, no BS.

Between YHL and Uncluttered, I’ve been inspired to simplify our house- and essentially my family’s life.

I’m know to hold onto things based upon my very logical “What if…” scenarios.  “What if I throw away this macaroni necklace from when I was 6 and zombies attack and instead of eating my face, they would have been satisfied by some simple (admittedly stale) colored noodles?!”  or “What if I throw away this lone sock and suddenly it’s partner turns up and has to live out the rest of it’s lonely sock life as a dust rag with no partner to comfort them!?”

Therefore, I’ve decided to start small.  About 6 months or so ago I turned around all my hangers and said that by the end of a year, if there were hangers still turned the opposite direction, those items would go straight to Goodwill.  However, most of my everyday clothes won’t be worn now that I’m pregnant.  So, I came up with a new plan- recruit my husband!  He picks 3 items he despises from my closet and then helps me decide which items I have had since before we started dating (4 years ago) and he helps me decide if they are in good enough shape to keep.  This plan has an added bonus- the right to say which Tony Soprano-esq shirts are outright hideous and have to go.  In all seriousness, the hubs had dropped 20 lbs recently and plans to drop more.  The guy will deserve new clothes once he has reached his goal weight.  After I push our 3rd child weighing 9+ lbs out of my hoo-hah, I’ll deserve new clothes too.  And possibly new shoes.  And maybe some jewelry.  Who knows!?

After that, I have grandiose plans of tackling all the other closets in our home, then the bedrooms and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to open the filing cabinet in our office.  It’s a dangerous and daring life I lead!

What about you all?  Any de-cluttering tips or inspiration?  Have you found you do best starting small or attacking a project head-on?

Mommy’s Little Helper

My husband and I make it a habit each night to read our four-year-old daughter (The Chatterbox) three books, or to tell her a story or two (or ten) each night before she goes to sleep.  Tonight my husband, The Funny Dad, was tucking in Chatterbox and she was expressing her feelings to him about the new baby.

She has been pretty adamant about the names she likes.  As The Funny Dad has mentioned in this post, she has come up with some real show-stoppers, such as Tree, Mailbox, Flower, Sign.  Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure these names have already been dibs’d for celebrity children.   The other day she told me she really likes “Lizzy” , which is adorable, but she doesn’t really want us to use it because when she was a baby she told me that’s what her name should be but I “didn’t listen and now we can’t use it for anyone else.”

She has also been pretty demanding we find out the gender, even though we already have a boy and a girl, all the appropriately sized clothing for the season, and since we will be moving shortly after this baby arrives, no nursery to decorate.  We have been pretty open to the idea of waiting until the baby is born to find out the gender, but our precious angel can’t handle the idea of having to wait to know if she will have a sister or another bother brother.  In fact, tonight she informed us “A baby brother would be really adorable, but a sister would be better.”  Just wait until she starts stealing all your clothes and makeup, then talk to me…

The older The Chatterbox gets, the more opinionated she becomes, but she has also shown a great increase in her willingness to help out.  This has carried over into how much she wants to help with the new baby.  She wants to take care of the baby herself, but she “hasn’t been able to get milk out of her nipples yet, so Mommy will have to still do that”.  Maybe I can teach her how to change diapers and wash my pumping equipment…

My House is a Circus

I should start off by saying I don’t know how to juggle items.  I can barely catch one ball, let alone coordinate three.  The further into this pregnancy we get the more concerned I am becoming about the juggling that will come with having three children.  Not in the sense that I won’t be able to catch one and they will land on their head, though that is always a concern anyway, but that I won’t be able to remember who has eaten breakfast or not, who needs a new diaper, who has gymnastics, or who needs to be picked up from preschool.  Not to mention all the other responsibilities that come with adulthood: work, bills, grocery-shopping, doctor appointments, and making sure to get your Redbox movie back in time.

There is so much pressure on parents (especially moms) to be the perfect parent.  Social media, Pinterest, parenting magazines, and headlines that read “Are you Mom Enough?”.  Isn’t that what we are wondering everyday anyway?  Why do we have to see it in black and white all over the newsstand?

You have moms on Facebook bragging about how their 4-day old baby slept through the night last night, never cries, can already say “Mama”, and poops rainbow-colored turds that smell like daffodils.  Then you have to see Tweets like, “Just made an entire homemade meal from scratch with the vegetables from our garden and Ketchup made from our heirloom tomatoes!”.  Of course, all these post come with a picture verifying that your friend isn’t entirely full of shit.

If you’re really feeling like getting your self-loathing on, just log into the ever-addictive Pinterest.  On one web-page you will see rippling abdomens (which have surely never carried a child) with the subtext “Get flat abs just by mopping your floors”, followed by a picture of imported Italian hardwoods that nowhere resemble your own $0.92/sq. foot wood laminate, cupcakes that only take three hours to prep (two hours to decorate), and a systematic way to organize your spice rack.

With other parents/adults everywhere pressuring/guilting us into needing to do more, be better, and have the perfect life, I think we can solve the feeling of inadequacy by looking at the precious little beings that made us parents in the first place.  All they want from us (besides a clean diaper and nutrition) is to feel love.  When you give that love, you will feel theirs in return and what more could anyone hope for than to be loved by their child?

So, while it is easy to get caught up in seemingly overwhelming magnitude of it all, remember to throw out the junk not really worth the weight of trying to catch and throw back into the air.  It’s easier to juggle three things rather than twenty. Take things one day at a time, breathe, and have your child’s happiness and well-being at the core of all you do.  Just remember, if a clown can juggle, so can you.  I’m not just talking about the characters with Bozo hair and squeaky noses either…