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.

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!