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Two Too Long

It’s been a long week. I know the week’s not over yet – we still have Friday, and then Saturday and Sunday – but my week is done! Tomrrow is my day “off.” The babysitter is coming and I get to go do “my” stuff. Yes, I do have some paying work to do – but I welcome that. I welcome time in the car driving around by myself without a sound, except what I want to hear. If I want to listen to the radio – I will. If I want to listen to the pure sound of the road as I glide over it – I will. Yes, tomorrow is Friday, and it’s MY day.

Tuesday and Thursday were just two, too long days. From the moment I got up out of bed, I was ready to put my boys to bed. Yes, THAT kind of day. I was proud of myself though. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream until my throat was hoarse. I delt – fairly well I must say. *pat on the back!*

This is a quickie post, but I just wanted to write down and concretize (is that even a word?) the fact that my two long days are done, and we all managed to get to bedtime and tucked in with smiles, hugs, kisses and love. Boys will be boys, Mama will be mama, and sweet dreams are happening.

Frazzled and Frustrated

It’s not fun when you butt heads with your kids. Not fun for me, not fun for them.

It’s officially summer (both by the calendar and by the fact that Zack is done with school until the Fall, when he starts Kindergarten – another post, another day). I’m looking forward to spending long days playing in the backyard (our new fenced-in backyard with grass and everything!) with the boys, sipping lemonade (or wine…) and enjoying our new home. I’m looking forward to warmer weather that actually allows us to spend quiet (maybe even romantic – wink, wink Hon) evenings outside without freezing our you-know-whats off. Not looking forward to the wind, but I’ll deal.

So yes, officially summer and 2 months (and counting) until school starts for Zack. For some reason, I don’t know if it’s me or them or both or what – my loving little snugglebugs are driving me c-r-a-z-y! I knew the day would come when little brother Brayden would beat the “heck” out of big brother Zack (payback I guess). Well, it’s not gotten to that point yet, but I am constantly telling Brayden to stop hitting, stop kicking, stop tackling, stop biting your brother. I remember when I used to scream at Zack to get off his brother. Now it’s completely the other way around. Zack is still bigger than Brayden – by a lot – but Brayden seems to somehow manage to get on top of Zack.

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I feel like my entire days are filled with separating the two, giving timeouts, sitting down to talk about it, and then repeating – over and over and over and over and… It’s not constant (although it often feels like it), but a good part of my energy is being spun negatively towards my boys. Sometimes even to the point that I am embarassed for how I acted and feel epic amounts of guilt. Yes, so much that I don’t want to write about it – I’m not proud of those moments. I have never physically hurt them, or even hit them, but boy I have been right on the edge of a good spanking (hey, my parents occasionally acted upon their right to discipline – and I turned out okay). For me, it’s more like my throat gets hoarse from all the screaming. And then I cry.

They can play so well together. They can be so loving towards each other. They can help each other and be the wonderful little boys I know they are. I hate being this way. I hate feeling anger towards them. I hate, hate, hate not loving being home with them. So what do I do? My husband says I should get a job to pay for daycare so I can get out of the house a couple days a week. As much as I understand where he’s coming from (and he doesn’t like coming home to find me unhappy, frazzled and frustrated), to me that would be a backwards step to where I want to go. BUT, I don’t know how much more I can suck it up for these 2 months of summer.

Any advice??? Anyone been there? I love my boys more than anything, but my wine budget is going way over these days. 🙂

I Am Not My Circumstances

Kimber LimThis post is dedicated to Kimber Kabell Lim, a wonderful coach, mentor and friend who always reminds me that “I am not my circumstances,” and inspired by Marylin Warner, a woman I have recently befriended in the blogging world (check out her blog, Things I Want To Tell My Mother) whose recent comment to me about “numerous irritants” instantly made me smile!

First, let me start off by saying this post really does end on a positive note. I’m not one to often complain, and I’m not one to share my complaints publicly. I try to write about things that people might actually want to read; things that could inspire, help, encourage people, or things that are so stinkin’ cute I just have to share. Hey, I am after all the Mother of the two cutest little boys in the whole entire world (not biased here or anything…).

So, speaking of circumstances… I’m going to back-track a little bit. May 24, 2010. Approximately 3:30pm. I remember the time within a few minutes (if you recall I have super Mommy powers that allow me to know what time it is at all times – tick, tock) because I had just spent the last hour getting Brayden down for a nap, and had just plopped my exhausted derriere on the couch to watch a recorded Oprah during the last week of her show. Not more than five minutes later, what sounded and felt like a herd of semi-trucks crashing through our house, was actually a tree falling on the roof, right over top of our master bedroom, where Brayden was now sitting straight up in his crib wondering what had just woke him up from his all-too-short blissful dreamland. Details aside, everyone was okay (a little shaken, but okay), the house got fixed (new roof and all), and life was “back to normal.”

Jump forward to Christmas Day, 2011. Approximately 1:30pm (tick, tock…). My husband opens the front door and splat! – a puddle of water falls on his head. It wasn’t snowing, it wasn’t even raining; in fact it was actually quite nice outside. Puzzled, the friends we had staying with us for the holiday, and I, went over and looked to see what was going on. Seconds later, water was dripping more visibly from the ceiling light right inside the entry way, and within an hour and a half, I had every spare towel out soaking up the water that was “raining” inside our house. My immediate thought (after I fixed myself another hot buttered rum – hey, I wasn’t driving anywhere, and it was Christmas), was that our “fixed” roof was leaking. Two weeks and countless contractors, engineers and insurance-sent company representatives tromping through my house later, we still have not determined the actual cause of the water, but at least it has temporarily (permanently?) stopped “raining.”

Again, details aside, all the above accompanied with multiple visits to the doctor, pharmacy and health food store for a 10 day hacking cough that Zack had; an inhaler and antibiotics for Brayden’s bronchitis and sinus infection (thank goodness he is a trooper and takes his medication like a champ); a sinus/cold/headache “thing” that refuses to leave me alone since before Thanksgiving; and other “numerous irritants” that I get too flustered to even mention, has nearly driven me crazy. I don’t know if I’m just delirious, or in complete denial, but I remain happy. Truly happy. My life is spinning like crazy around me, my circumstances are not what I would have chosen them to be, but I can honestly say that I am happy.

My husband works hard and loves me. My boys are (um, yes, again) the cutest little beings in the whole entire universe and I know they love me like crazy. For the meantime, I have a roof over my head (even if it is in need of attention), food in my belly, clothes on my back and a warm, comfy bed to sleep in every night. Circumstances aside, my life is great and I have no reason not to be happy. I’m doing what I love – being home with my boys, writing, practicing authenticity and being present, and dreaming…

I know things will work themselves out. Our house will get fixed and whatever the cause will be rightfully determined. We will all be back to perfect health and my husband’s job will continue to provide for our family.

Life is sometimes hard, and sometimes a billion things come rumbling down the road at us all at the same time. Sometimes, all we can do is put on our armor, hunker down and fight back, knowing it won’t last forever.  Whatever your circumstances, keep in mind you are NOT them – they do not define you. Try to smile and laugh about it (easier said than done, I know). Take this pledge with me, and I will continue to remind myself, I am not my circumstances – I AM happy!

A Babysitter and Coffee is Cheaper Than Therapy

My husband and I were talking the other day about finances – always a not so joyful conversation topic. Like most of the rest of the country, we are constantly discussing the need to “tighten down.” For us, this is hard, as we already have minimized where we can (I know there are probably several areas where we could do better, but I’m trying to keep some sense of realism about what we’re I’m willing – key word – to sacrifice).

The conversation always ends up in the direction of daycare / babysitting expenses. Lucky me, this is “my” expense (as compared to the “shared” expenses of groceries, utilities, etc). We are a completely merged household. We don’t have separate accounts (um, not that I know of, do we Hon?). We both make decisions, especially financial ones (again, right Hon?). So don’t get me wrong, there really aren’t “my” expenses and “his” expenses, they are all just expenses; expenses we both have to deal with. The big issue is which expenses take priority?

Now that Zackery is in preschool, his daycare expense has disappeared, replaced of course with the cost of preschool, which is about half of what we were paying per month. Good deal! Less overall hours, but I’m happy (honestly) having him home earlier (thus avoiding the evening rush to get dinner on the table in time).

We had a credit at Zack’s daycare from pulling him out to start school before the month was over. I loved his daycare – awesome! I felt like part of their family and vice versa. Zack had been going there for 2-1/2 years and it was hard for me to pull him out, but he was ready for school, and I guess so was I. He kept asking when he was going to start “big school” and mentioned he didn’t want to be with the babies anymore. So yes, he was definitely ready!

Anyway, we had this credit and we had been discussing putting Brayden in one day a week. He was younger than when we started Zack, but I went for it anyway. I knew he’d be fine (I trusted the daycare completely, and Brayden was no stranger to coming with me to pick up Zack). So, for 6 weeks Brayden went to daycare on Fridays, while Zack was in school and I did… what did I do? I slept, I showered, I ran errands, I wrote, I relaxed, I caught my breath! It was wonderful. A real day “off.”

Then, our credit ran out, and the thought of shelling out that extra cash (which still combined with Zack’s preschool cost would be less than what we were paying just for Zack) was hard for even me to swallow. Will had been talking about stopping daycare once our credit was up (and he wasn’t 100% on board with starting in the first place, but Mama usually gets her way – really I’m not bad, just determined). I knew this was the right thing to do, so I made the call and canceled. I felt bad, and didn’t want to cause issues, but being like family his daycare was overly understanding and supportive. She’s still saving a spot for him for down the road when we are better off financially. I love her.

I also feel good about the decision NOT to have Brayden in daycare because it’s really what I am trying to be – a full time stay-at-home Mom. Wait, did I say “trying to be?” Yes. I think sometimes we have this image of our ideal selves doing these ideal things, like being the most perfect (a word we should just take out of the English language) Mom. The Mom who makes eggs and toast for breakfast every day; who happily folds load upon load of clean, spring-fresh-smelling laundry; who makes pot roast from scratch every Sunday for dinner, blah blah blah. Um, yeah, that’s not me.

I am a very loving, nurturing, passionate Mother, but I need my space and “me time” too.

We’ve had a babysitter who has been watching Brayden on Wednesday mornings for almost (or maybe over – wow!) a year now. She is awesome. I love her too. I love a lot of people! J It gives me time to run to the post office or go to an appointment (it’s kind of awkward taking your toddler to the gynecologist with you). I share her with one of my other Mommy friends and we have generated the “perfect” (I know, sorry I used that word I said we should ban) plan. Our babysitter (who shall remain nameless as I will protect her and keep her all mine, ha ha ha!), now watches both our toddlers all day on Wednesdays, switching houses every other week. So, while Zack is in school, and Brayden is with super-babysitter and his little toddler friend, I get my day “off” again.

Is this in the budget? Well, it’s in mine! This arrangement that we have still costs money every week, money that Will and I were both hoping we could save for date nights instead of just watching Brayden, but it’s even less than having Brayden in daycare once a week. Bottom line, still saving money, however the discussion still comes back around to, “do we need to have super-babysitter?”

My answer: YES! If I don’t get my day off, to do whatever I want need to do, I will go crazy – literally. I would be sitting on the couch in some therapist’s office once a week (for which we’d have to pay for a babysitter anyway), feet up, crying and begging for sanity and peace.

I have had both boys at home with me (and granted we may have actually gotten out of the house) for a solid week or more without a break, and it wears me down. I know myself. I’m being honest with myself, and my husband. If I don’t get a break every week (and I mean more than just 15 min while I take a quick shower, which usually results in a rush job because I can hear one or both of the boys crying out in the other room), I will go bonkers.

So, here I sit, on my Wednesday off, writing (my personal therapy), enjoying my second cup of coffee at Wild Cherries, knowing that Zack is happily learning something fabulous in school and Brayden is probably now happily on his way to dreamland for his nap with super-babysitter.

Moral of the story: A babysitter and a cup of coffee is cheaper than therapy!

PPD – part 2

The more I talk about post partum depression (PPD), the more I feel better, and the more I realize how common it is. I feel genuinely touched to know how much support I have gotten – from friends and family, and from other mothers alike. It’s humbling to know I am not alone in my battle.

I finally feel like the meds are starting to kick in. I feel a little happier and not so down all the time. And although I am still very tired, I don’t feel that complete exhaustion and fatigue all the time anymore either. It has been a little easier to get out of bed in the morning.

The hardest and scariest part for me, is not really knowing how I’m supposed to feel. I don’t know what my normal is anymore. I’ve been depressed for so long that it was my normal, so now I am unsure if I actually feel better or if it’s just my mind and my thoughts being powerful – which they are! The one thing I am sure of, however, is that I still just take things one moment at a time. I will be overwhelmed, I will be tired, I will be sad and scared… but I will and am loved – and that is all that matters in this tiny moment.

Post Partum Depression

Post Partum Depression is real. I have it.

I had it before with my first son (I didn’t know it at the time), but this time it has decided to show itself much later, and I believe with more symptoms. It’s something I have been aware of (because I had it before) and have tried very hard to keep myself from spiraling down into a depression, but I now know it’s not something I can control by myself.

What’s hard about believing I have PPD is that at various times throughout the day I feel just fine. What I know, however, is that part of PPD is mood swings – and those I have. I also have many other symptoms – irritability, extreme fatigue, sleeplessness (despite pure exhaustion), crying, lack of desire to do anything (including getting dressed or even brushing my teeth), feeling numb or empty inside. And then there’s even the physical symptoms – those I never had the last time. I thought I was having a heart attack the other night when my chest starting hurting as I was nursing my son for the 3rd time in the middle of the night. After much research, I read that chest pain can be a symptom of depression. I was relieved, sort of, that I didn’t need to call 911 or go to the hospital for an EKG. But what that made me realize is that I need to get help for my PPD.

Where do I start? Who do I talk to? What do I say? I haven’t even told my husband.

I know I shouldn’t feel ashamed. But I can’t help feeling that I should be able to take control of it and just be happy! I feel guilty for having this, as I don’t want to burden my family with something else – as if there’s not already enough stress in my life to deal with. I guess this is where I have to be the strong woman I know I am deep down inside. I know I’m not alone. I know I need to pick up the phone and call someone. I just have to keep telling myself that.

And now my son is awake, and I must dive back into caring for him. I love him dearly. He is the most precious little angel on earth…

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