Introducing Myself

You’re probably wondering why I am doing this.

  • Because I know that I am not alone
  • Because other people need to know that they are not alone
  • To create a safe space where mothers, working or not, know that their feelings are valid.

I am starting this blog because I know that I am not alone and I want other people to know that they are not alone in their feelings either. It is a great task to be a mother. As a working mother, not only are we expected to work 40 hours a week (minimum), we are expected to keep our house clean, keep warm food on the table for dinner, and spend plenty of time with our children. As a mother, you have the expectation that you will teach your child everything they need to know about love, happiness, sadness, their colors, letters, animals; you name it, we are responsible for making sure they know it. The reality is that this is HARD.

There simply is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything we are expected to accomplish. It is important to take it one day at a time and not let it overwhelm us. That has been difficult for me in the past. Personally, I have gone through bouts of depression and anxiety. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Are my kids happy? Is my husband happy? Am I being a good sister? friend? Am I setting my kids up for failure? What if they don’t know their ABC’s by the time they get to preschool? What if they can’t write their name in kindergarten?

I know that some of these thoughts have crossed your mind too. Are you doing enough? The answer is YES. You are doing enough! If you even have this question cross your mind, the answer will always be YES.

I am hoping to use this blog as a platform for moms of all varieties to come together and realize that they are not alone and it is okay to be overwhelmed. It is what we do with that feeling that really matters. I plan on writing about mental health, what it is like to be a mom, what it is like to be a working mom, fun things to do with your kids, fun crafts to do on a girls night, and even what it is like being a wife, daughter and sister.

I hope that you are still reading this and are ready to go on this journey with me. I can’t wait to see how this blog evolves as the year goes on. Here’s to new adventures and doing this together!

Survival Mode

I have been MIA for a few weeks now. I have been in complete survival mode.

Sometimes in life it is important to disconnect and simply survive. I have been taking time away from my computer, phone and social media to just make it. I have been in a funk and am currently trying to figure out what can get me out of it. I have been baking A LOT.

Some things I have learned during these times:

  1. Social media is my biggest trigger.
  2. Baking releases endorphins in my brain that make me extremely happy and able to cope. (Recipe page coming soon)
  3. Life does not have to evolve around your job. You can make your job evolve around you life.
  4. Finding people who are there for you is important.
  5. I have found my “tribe” and I thank God for them every single day. I literally would not be able to write this post right now if I did not have them.
  6. Your tribe does not have to be made up of all the same type of people. I have very different personalities in my tribe and that works the BEST for me because I have very different personalities based on what I am going through and they all give different advice so I am able to see all sides of a situation and how different I could handle it.
  7. It is okay to not be okay.
  8. It is okay to put yourself first. If you need to take a breather and go for a walk or cry, do it.
  9. The people who are there for you when you are at your worst are going to be there for you forever. They aren’t leaving. They love you.
  10. There will be a brighter day. It may not be today, and that is okay.

I have been using this time to bake, self-reflect and analyze what I am doing in life to determine what is next. I want you to know that you can do it too. If you need to go into survival mode just so you can figure things out, that’s okay. Turn off your notifications, set the phone down, close the laptop, figure out what your soul craves and make it happen. For me, I started baking, working on beautiful handwriting, and just being in the moment with people who are there and it has done wonderful things for me. I am not out of the woods yet though.

Survival mode also means exposing feelings, and for me it has been so hard to realize that I am actually experiencing anxiety and sadness to a level I have no choice but to address. I have been so busy just looking at my phone, on social media, working, or just sleeping that I did not realize I had this sadness and anxiety that I had never addressed. Everybody copes differently, for me, I always thought I needed to just get back to work, get back to being busy in order to “cope” but really, I was in survival mode. I was just continuing to fill my cup and then one day it spilled over and everything was out on the table. In order to prevent that from happening in the future, I have been dealing with emotions as they arise so that my cup stays upright.

Survival Mode is supposed to be a phase that helps save your life. It is not meant to be how you live. – Michele Rosenthal

You are Enough.

No matter how you are feeling today, know that you are enough and you are worth living for. When everything else goes wrong, your life is enough. You are important enough to keep living.

This weekend awakened me to the harsh reality that people I know and love don’t feel like they are doing enough and their life is not worth it. That was a hard pill to swallow. My depression has not ever manifested in a way that I felt I needed to stop living. My depression has always manifested in lack of motivation to do even basic things. When my depression arises, my house turns into a mess, my kids eat ramen or chicken nuggets every night for dinner, I don’t shower. But, NEVER, have I thought about taking my own life.

I know that this is not the case for many who suffer from depression. It kills me to think that anyone thinks that the world will go on without them. Or that not enough people care, so it is best for them to leave. I want you to know that you are ENOUGH. You, yourself, are worth fighting every single day for. When it feels like the whole world is against you, turn to me, I am here to listen and remind you that your life is important to me. You matter to me. I hope that my words are enough to keep you here.

Does a messy house make it worse? Take one day off during the week to clean. Then make an effort daily to keep it clean. You cook dinner? Clean up as soon as you are done. You got out games to play with the kids? Pick them up as soon as you are done.

Do you feel like you have to do the work of 5 people instead of 1 now? Be the teacher, be the mom, be the house keeper, be the cook, be the therapist? Remind yourself that it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to take a day off. You can’t do it all all the time. No one can. So don’t try to.

Do you feel like you have nothing to live for because your girlfriend broke up with you and you don’t have any family or friends to turn to? Take a breath, this is not the end. This is just the beginning of something greater. She wasn’t the one, and that’s okay. But, you are an amazing person and someone better will come along. It is okay to take a few days off and clear your mind. But come back, because we need you.

Do you find yourself thinking that you and the people you know would be better off without you? That couldn’t be further from the truth. So many people would miss you and be heartbroken for years if you left this earth. They would beat themselves up thinking “what if I would have…….” and they will never be at peace knowing that is how you felt. Please, talk to me before you act on any of these thoughts. Talk to someone. There is help out there and more people love you than you even realize.

These feelings are temporary. They won’t be there forever. They will come and go just like anything else in this life. We can make things better, we just have to figure out what helps and do those things. Know that it is okay to take a day off to just lay in bed. It is okay to take a day off to just clean the house. It is okay to feed your kids fast food just so you don’t have to do dishes. It is okay to feel sad. You do not have to do everything all the time. It is okay to have a messy house. It is okay to not make a 5 star dinner. It is okay to take a day off because work is too much right now. It is okay. We can get through this together.

You are enough. You are worth fighting for. Your capable of amazing things. Sometimes we just don’t feel okay, and it is okay to ask for help. But please, please, please, ask for help. Talk to someone, anyone. I am here to listen.

Advocate. Advocate. Advocate.

An advocate is a person who pleads for another’s cause or writes in support of something.

If there is one thing that I have learned in the last 2 years, it is the importance of advocating for yourself and in my case, my children. When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew something was wrong. I was extremely tired, bruising easily and didn’t understand. I asked my OBGYN to have my blood drawn to figure out what was going on. After blood work and being referred to a hematologist, it turns out I had Gestational Thrombocytopenia. This is a condition in which your platelets in your blood drop below a safe number. In my case, they were a safe enough level to not need intervention, however, I was medically unable to receive an epidural (if I had wanted one) and I was considered high risk for hemorrhaging during birth. If I had not advocated for myself during that second trimester when things weren’t getting any better, I could have ended up in the delivery room unaware of the underlying condition I had. It is also worth mentioning that after looking back on my first pregnancy, I had this then as well but my numbers were a touch higher so never a cause for concern.

Continuing on the journey of my second pregnancy, I always felt like she wasn’t growing, or at least was not growing at a normal rate. Appointment after appointment I mentioned to the doctor. I often did measure right on track or a week behind, depending on her position. It was around 33 weeks that I stopped measuring within 2 weeks of her estimated gestational age. This was when I was referred to a high risk pregnancy doctor. That doctor did a series of ultrasounds comparing the measurements between each one. I went every 2 weeks. At 33 weeks, she was measuring 31. At 35 weeks, she was measuring 33. At 38 weeks, she was still measuring 33, which meant she had not grown at all in 2 weeks. The last month of pregnancy is actually when most of the growing happens. So it was extremely alarming that she hadn’t grown in 2 weeks. This was when the doctor told me that I was to go home, get my things in order and make my way to the hospital because I was having a baby that day. I was terrified.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with advocacy. It took me advocating for myself and my daughter for them to realize that there really was a problem. Fast forward 5 hours from that conversation, I had just pushed my beautiful baby girl out. She wasn’t breathing. She couldn’t breath on her own. The respiratory therapists immediately took her from me and began to do what they are trained for; they pumped her lungs, gave her oxygen, massaged her body, anything to get that baby to breath. It wasn’t until 5 minutes later that I could finally breathe; she cried. When she cried I knew that she was going to be okay. Luckily that was all the help that she needed that day so we were able to stay together without a NICU stay. Thank God for respiratory therapists, and especially pediatric respiratory therapists! They were my angels on earth that day.

Baby girl was born with a scare, but healthy otherwise. The days and weeks following her birth we had the normal appointments with her pediatrician to check her growth. She was growing right on track. But, I noticed something odd. Her lips were ALWAYS peeling. No matter what I did, her lips would peel. Lanolin, peel. Chapstick, peel. Breastmilk, peel. At her 1 week appointment, I brought this up to her pediatrician. He responded “Well she went from a very wet environment to a very dry one. This is normal.” Boy was he wrong.

2 month appointment, mouth still dry, lips still cracking. 4 month appointment, mouth still dry, lips still cracking, and she is teething. 6 month appointment, mouth still dry, lips still cracking, she has teeth now, and she is having issues with dry food/puffs getting stuck in the roof of her mouth. 9 month appointment, at this point I am pretty frustrated that we have gotten nowhere and my poor baby still has extremely dry mouth and continues to cut teeth! He finally agrees that it is very odd that she doesn’t drool and that she has issues eating and that she has never cried a tear. We get a referral to the Children’s Hospital ENT. ENT orders an ultrasound for her mouth to see if she has any salivary glands, she also sends a referral to the ophthalmologist for her tear ducts. In case you were wondering, a 9 month old does not sit still for an ultrasound device to be ON THEIR FACE. So that went well. Came back, no salivary glands visible. Okay, maybe she moved too much. ENT orders an MRI to get a solid answer.

This whole process with the Children’s Hospital took 3 months. She was 13 months when we finally got in for the MRI. She had to be sedated, if you’re a parent you know just how terrifying it is for your baby to be put under for any procedure. She was in and out within 45 minutes. We got the MRI Results the next day. She had one small parotid gland under her tongue, but she has no other salivary glands. These are things that form as they grow in utero, they aren’t things that will show up later in her life. Whew we finally have answers. Now, what do we do with those answers?

We got those results 9 months ago. With those results we got a referral to a geneticist because, come to find out, I have an aunt and cousin who have the same problem. They are thinking this could be the tip of the iceberg for determining what gene causes glands to not develop. So after 9 months of being on the waiting list, length partially due to COVID, we have an appointment next week. This will begin our next journey of advocacy for figuring out what causes this and what we can do to help, because there is no treatment for those who don’t have any glands. You can be treated if your glands don’t produce much saliva, but to have no glands at all, or even one, those treatments don’t help you.

It is so important to advocate for yourself and your children. If you don’t advocate, then who will? When we realized that my aunt had the same situation she told me, “well no one ever cared to look into it more.” Well, the reality is that if she or my grandparents had advocated for more answers to WHY this was happening, we could already have research and studies and medications to treat this. But, because they accepted “it is what it is” as an answer, my advocacy for my daughter is now paving the way to finding out answers for my whole family and potentially thousands of other people across the United States and the World.

Never take “I don’t know” as an answer. Press for deeper, more fact based answers. Be your own advocate and advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

The Social Illusion

Sometimes we get caught up in social media and what other people are doing all the time and find ourselves yearning for the same life.

Social Media does not show you every aspect of a person’s life, it shows you what they want you to see. You could be seeing one thing on social media and the reality is actually very different. For example, almost 2 years ago I was posting about Kamryn’s milestones and work, but never posting about how I was 6 months pregnant. My pregnancy obviously was a huge part of my life, but I did not want to get my hopes up that people would be there for me, when I knew that once the baby was 3 days old, they would all disappear.

What I am trying to say is that you should not base your life on what you see of someone else’s life from the skewed image of social media. People are more complex than just a few status updates and a few pictures. That girl that “is always with her friends” works all the time and never gets a break. That girl who has the #squad at the end of every picture, goes to dinner by herself because her “friends” are too busy for her. The mom who is always posting cool arts and crafts with her kids just yelled at them because they spilled paint on the brand new carpet.

It is okay to feel the way you feel. More people than you think feel the way you do. Alone. Behind. Out of the Loop. You need to know that you are not alone. You are never alone. Sometimes work demands more than social life. Sometimes those friendships aren’t everyone else’s priority. It is okay to post on social media that your kids spilled the paint and you got upset while they were making that craft. It is okay to post the messy, not perfect things on social media too. I bet you that more friends would relate to the messy than to the perfect.

It is important to be vulnerable. It is important to show people that you do have a life outside of friendships. When you show that side of you, you gain more than you lose. If we are always showing the perfect, we are making someone else envy us and feel like they have failed because they don’t have it all together. I know that I feel envy every time I see a specific person post because according to social media, their life is perfect. They make good money, travel often, are always with their friends or family, they have it all. But, I talk to that person in real life and they are struggling with being alone. They travel so much for work that they never see their friends. They haven’t found a partner in life and their friends are all getting married. They are envious of my life because I have everything they yearn for, a husband, two kids, I have bought and sold my first home and own my second home. To them, I am settled and they feel very unsettled.

We always think the grass is greener on the other side. But, the person whose life you envy, could be envying yours thinking the same thing. We should love the life we live and find ways to improve it in the ways that we want to. If that’s traveling more, finding friends, being calm when your kid spills the paint, we can accomplish these things within ourselves without wishing to have someone else’s life completely. The first step is to be open and share the not so pretty sides of our lives. We all have them. Let people in. Find what you desire from that other persons life and make it happen in yours. You want to travel more? Spend less somewhere else. You want to have a #squad, find people who can be that for you. You want to not blow up on your kids for the small things, breathe and remind yourself that the moments are what matter.

You have complete control of making your life what you want. The grass is greener where you water it. When you realize that, the sky is the limit.

The Choice

Many times we find ourselves operating on auto pilot. It isn’t until something happens to throw us out of autopilot that we truly realize how bad it is to operate that way.

After operating on auto pilot for years, I found myself in a very dark place. I realized after gaining 30 pounds within 3 months that something had to change. That was the day I went to the doctor and got an appointment with a therapist. That was 6 months ago. In the last 6 months I have learned more about myself than I ever knew before. With this, I have also learned to stand my ground and know that I do have a CHOICE in what I do every single day.

I have realized that the world does not end if I take a day off work or do a little bit less work in a day. I have realized that the world does not end if I choose not to pick up the house before I go to bed. I have realized that the world does not end when I choose to do the things that make me happy and surround myself with people who make me happy. I have realized that I feel better, my kids are happier and my husband is happier when I choose myself every day. If I am feeling down, I choose to take the day off to get in a better mood for my family. If I am feeling overwhelmed, I choose to do just a little less work to lift that feeling. If I am feeling frustrated and upset, I choose to be around people who make me happy and remind me of the good things in life.

It is with these choices that I have found my own happiness. Now, my choices do impact others, but it gives them an opportunity to choose what they want to do with it. My co-worker has chosen to pick up those extra tasks on the days that I choose that they would be too much for me. If someone upsets me, I choose to distance myself because my happiness is important too. This allows them to choose whether they want to make it right or remain distant.

In the past, I always felt the need to do everything and be everything. That caused me to be a very overwhelmed, burnt out, depressed person with a lot of anxiety. I have always done it all. Kids need something? I’ll do it. Family needs something? I’ll do it. Work needs a project done? I’ll do it. I was doing the work of 2-3 people every single day in every aspect of my life. It is absolutely no wonder that I was as overwhelmed as I was. It is no wonder that I was not always the greatest person to be around. I was strung so tight and demanding so much of myself I did not even know what made me happy anymore.

Moral of the story is: You do not have to do everything all the time. Find where your happiness is, and do those things. If you start to feel like you are falling back into doing everything all the time or the mental pressure to do it all, come back here and be reminded that you don’t have to do anything that does not bring you joy or happiness. It is okay to take the day off. It is okay to do one thing less. It is okay to order dinner instead of cooking dinner. It is okay to let that task wait until tomorrow. There is nothing more important in the world than your happiness, and only you can create that. The first step is realizing that you have a choice.

The Tribe

As I have grown older, I have realized how important it is to find your tribe and love them fiercely.

It has taken me most of my life to build my tribe, and honestly, I did not have the key parts of my tribe until this past year. Having a tribe is essential to survival, especially as you get older and have kids. When you have kids, you lose most of your friends who don’t have kids. They aren’t able to understand that the kids need to be in bed by 730PM or that every hour later you are out, the more it costs you on a babysitter.

It is important to have 4 types of people in your tribe: the lifelong, the unfiltered, the supportive, and the pathfinder.

The lifelong will always be there for you no matter how often or little you talk. They know where you’ve come from and know what you’ve been through. They are always there to lend an ear when your cup overflows. They are always there for every milestone in your life. In my tribe, this is Audrey, Kristin and Chrissy. These three girls have been there for me through it all. Audrey and I met in 8th grade. She was a new girl and only in our class for a brief period of time but we have never lost touch. No matter how much time goes between when we talk, we pick up right where we left off. She is a true sister to me. Kristin has been there for 8 years. She was there when I eloped. She was there when I graduated college (we graduated together). We both experienced our last pregnancy together. Chrissy has been there for 6 years. She is the person that I trusted over the years with the most sensitive information because I knew that she would keep a secret. We only lived close for a year but we have traveled across the world to spend time with each other. Her and her husband were our first “couple friends,” where I got along with her and Kevin got along with her husband. We could all hang out together for hours and hours on end. Despite the distance, she has been there for me through it all.

The unfiltered will give you advice whether you want it or not. She will tell you that you look homeless when you haven’t showered in a few days, but will also tell you how beautiful you are when you take those extra few minutes in the morning. In my tribe, that’s Jess. She tells me to get my ass out of bed when I don’t want to. She has a free reign on her words and says exactly what I need on a daily basis.

The supportive will be there for you no matter what. She is your biggest cheerleader, the one who backs you in everything you do. She is your biggest listener too, she is always lending her ear to hear your latest problem or success. She is just there for you no matter what decision you make, reminding you that it is always the right one. In my tribe, that’s Morgan. She is always listening to me vent, all hours of the day and night, and I listen to her too. I know that she will have my back no matter what I do in life.

The pathfinder will push you outside of your comfort zone and remind you to live a little wild sometimes! She is always coming up with crazy ideas and you can’t help but go along for the ride. She will always keep you young and remind you that life is short so take that shot of vodka and dance! In my tribe, this is Emily. Emily is always making me think outside of the box and reminding me that if you set your sights on the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

As long as you have these 4 types of women to fill your tribe, you can get through anything and come out on top. I am so thankful to do life with these women and can’t wait to see what shenanigans the future holds for us!

You have nothing to be sad about…..

These are the words from the mouths of those who do not understand depression.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been told this exact thing. You have everything you could ever want, why are you sad? Well, I’m depressed; not sad. Depression is not synonymous with being sad. You could have all the money in the world, have everything you could have ever wished for, and still be depressed.

On the worst days, it is so hard to get the motivation to get out of bed. It feels impossible to get up and get dressed. No food sounds good, so there is no motivation to eat. The best feeling is to be able to do nothing, and not be questioned. There is no sadness, there is simply a lack of want to. The lack of want to bother anyone with feelings. The feeling that if anything is shared at all, it will come off as a burden. The feeling that being a burden is the last thing, so why not just be alone.

Depression comes about in a number of different ways. It also can last a day, two days or even two months. Depression has no timeline. Depression doesn’t care what plans were made, depression is there until depression gets what it wants. If depression wants to lay in bed all day, then depression lays in bed. If depression wants that Dr. Pepper and Reece’s Outrageous bar, depression gets that Dr. Pepper and Reece’s Outrageous bar. Maybe if it gets what it wants, it will go away faster.

The reality is that no matter what depression wants and gets, it stays as long as it wants to. The goal is to make it through with a support system around. If you or someone you love has depression, it is important to have a support system of people who know what is going on and ways to help. In those hard days, stay accountable. Make a list of 3 things that you can accomplish in a day and send it to someone who will hold you accountable to those things, and who you won’t lie to about doing them. If your loved one has depression, have them give you 3 things that they can accomplish and hold them accountable. These can be as simple as getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating breakfast. These things will get them through the hardest days, so that they can have more good days ahead!

To my first born…

You are the one who made me a mother. I experienced my first pregnancy with you. The first time you kicked inside my tummy, the first time I got punched in the bladder from the inside. You were the first heartbeat I heard through a Doppler. I was so scared to bring you into the world, not knowing if I would be able to give you everything you ever needed. We have learned this life together.

Thank you for teaching me how to be a mother. Thank you for being patient with me as I figured everything out. You are the reason I am the mother I am today. You taught me patience, kindness, and most of all, love. I love you more than words could ever describe. You are growing up to be a beautiful, fun, outgoing little girl.

You love your sister just how I love you. You are patient with her as she learns new things and you are always teaching her what I taught you. Your unending love for her shows me that you will make a good mother too some day. Not anytime soon though.

Thank you for being the Lord’s greatest blessing in my life. Don’t ever forget just how much I love you. I will be behind you every step through this life as your biggest cheerleader.

I love you. You are forever my baby.

Depression in a time of Social Distancing

During this time of social distancing, one thing is often looked past. That is the mental well-being of those of us with depression and/or anxiety.

You are not alone. We have to make tough decisions about what make sense for our family during this time. Following your heart and your gut can come with a lot of backlash from others who believe differently than you. You have to do what is right for you and your mental health. For me, that means sending my kids to daycare so I can work full time. I tried to work from home with them one day and my anxiety was through the roof and I felt a bout of depression coming on because I felt like I was letting them down by telling them “no I can’t play right now, I have to work.” I realize this is not the decision that everyone will make or is making. That’s fine.

It gets lonely when you are stuck in the house all day. I thrive on face to face interaction with my co-workers day in and day out. They help make the day go by faster, and I can turn and ask them a question at any point in the day and get an immediate response. Now, I am being inundated with conference calls on things that would have previously been a 5 minute conversation that we would have had at our desks. Or, I am waiting on them to tend to their families and get back to me when I can. Work is less efficient.

Do what you need to do to stay sane. Is that going for a walk? Do it. Is it getting your favorite drink from a drive thru? Do it. Whatever your mental health needs, do it. For me, it is getting that snack that I gave up a few months ago to lose some weight, or even taking a nap. Listen to your anxiety/depression and let it tell you what it needs, and do it.

You are not alone, we may be socially distant, but we are all in this together and we WILL come out on the other side.