Puzzles

I’m back into puzzles during quarantine.  Puzzles have always been a form of escape for me.  It keeps my attention and requires some thought “hmm, is this blue more purple blue or more blue blue?”

I used to do a 1,000 piece puzzle every Christmas at my house.  It gave me a few days to be by myself and not have to be part of my family unit.  My family unit is more scattered and confusing than a 1,000 piece puzzle poured out onto a piece of poster board, and has only become worse over the years as they age.  A puzzle can be put back together and make sense, my family can’t.  They are like a wet bag of puzzle pieces – broken and peeling away from themselves.

I’m going to be using this blog again so that I can vent and feel better.  I need something.  Yesterday my mind and body basically stopped working after a two hour panic attack.  I laid down and slept from 2:30pm-6pm.  I’m going gray in my mid-30’s.  I no longer find my crafts entertaining, and it’s hard to push myself to even attempt to make something new.  

I know this pandemic is changing everything forever… can you feel it too?

Minimalist Life: In Progress…

I’ve always been a minimalist at heart.  I’ve never wanted for much, I don’t enjoy buying things just to buy them, and too much decor has always driven me crazy.  Growing up in a single wide trailer with a family of four didn’t help.  I was always surrounded by things.  Other people’s things, and things other people thought I wanted or needed, despite my constant pleas for them to stop buying me things.

The problem is that most people don’t understand the concept of someone not wanting things.  Who wouldn’t want a brand name sweater?  A pretty vase? A basket full of scented lotions?  What kind of person doesn’t want a heartfelt gift?

Well, I guess me.  I don’t want anything from anyone.  Well, except the unconditional overwhelming love and adoration of my husband.  That is something I must have, but I am needy and I digress…

My main point here is that I want to truly embrace the minimalist life.  Being truly stuck at home for the past… decade? I kid, five weeks?  I honesty don’t know anymore… but being stuck at home with my kids has shown me, and 100% verified to me, that my kids don’t need things either.  They don’t want things.  The less cluttered the space, the more they want to be in it.  Give them a room filled with toys? No thanks.  Give them an empty kitchen table and you get to see the true magic of childhood.  Playdough and paint and glue.  Give them a pretty bare bedroom?  Relaxing time to read or play on their Ipads (only learning apps, don’t come at me).

This quarantine serves as a reminder to us all that we don’t NEED this much stuff.  We don’t need a new amazon box at our doorstep each day with a new toy or gizmo or thing.  We don’t need to go to Target to “just look” and bring home $100 in stuff we didn’t need in the first place.  (I’m not knocking a long stroll through a Target with a coffee in search of necessities… I hope to do that again someday…)

What do we really, truly need?

For me, since this whole situation began, I’ve needed comfort of my husband, the laughs of my kids, food, soil, and seeds.  We’ve learned to cook new things, we have started a garden for the first time (Home Depot delivery), we have done puzzles, had dance parties, played outside for a couple hours each day, learned how to do distance learning.  We have adapted to a new normal, and it turns out that the lack of non-essentials is a true bright spot in this new world.  I hope this teaches a lot of people about the difference between want and need.  I hope it shines a bright light on over-consumption and what the hours of your working life truly should be spent on.

And on a completely different note, I hope everyone is safe and happy.  I hope you have what you need, and if you don’t, I hope you have the help you need to survive right now.  This is not a walk in the park.  It’s not a picnic.  It’s hard.  It’s such a change and a struggle, mostly mentally.  I know I’ve been suffering mentally.  I’m trying to take each day as it comes, sometimes each hour.  Things will, someday, somehow, come to a new normal.  We will see friends and family again.  We will be free of the confines of our houses.  We will work and play in public.  Things will never be the same as they were, but our new normal will be coming, and we will adapt to it, as we have adapted to this new normal.  Hang in there, everyone.

 

I’m Still Here

I remembered that my last post was a little… scary? I wanted to update and let you all know that I’m still here, and I’m feeling better.  I’ve changed up some supplements, I’ve stayed away from things that get in my head (family drama, mostly), and I also quit drinking three months ago.

Baby steps… but I’m doing a lot better.  I hope you are all well, and I hope you have wonderful holiday, or non-holiday, days ahead.

I am horrifically depressed

I’ve been battling depression since having my oldest, who will be six in June.  I used to think it was post-partum depression, and that it would eventually go away, but now that my youngest is three, and the depression is getting worse, I guess I have to assume it’s something else.

I’m currently blaming my thyroid, which is probably pretty accurate, but to be honest with you, it’s also my kids.

My kids. They are constant.  They are noise and touching and neediness.  They are nonstop, even at night now.  There is no rest, even when I’m resting, because I know that at any second they will be up, and so will I.

I never wanted to have kids.  I knew my mentality wasn’t for kids.  I had kids because my husband wanted a kid, and I would give my husband the moon, if he asked.  And even though I struggled with my daughter, I didn’t have THIS hard of a time.  My son is hard headed and horrible.  He hits, kicks, screams.  He says “no” more than he takes breaths.  He is pure strength and noise.  He has worn me down, and now there is nothing left.  I feel empty of compassion and love.  I wake up every morning, wishing I was somewhere else.  Wishing they were someone elses responsibility.  Wishing my husband and I were rich enough to have someone else do it all while we did whatever we wanted.

Even my husband is tired and frustrated, and I joke that he is about 98% robot.  We are always irritated and never get any real time together, besides an hour or so a few nights a week.  We are struggling, and it’s mostly because I am struggling.

I told him I need help.  So we are trying to send my son to a neighbors house a few times a week so she can watch him for me while my daughter is at school.  I’m also going to go to the doctor and try to get my thyroid (or whatever) in check.  I know something is messed up because my body temperature keeps dropping to 95.9.  Something is off physically, could it be causing all of this mental strife?

I feel like this post is all over the place and spacey.  I feel like I can’t really get my thoughts across in a way that makes sense or really explains what I’m feeling.  To sum it up, I feel nothing.  Nothing but a longing to be somewhere else.

Am I alone in this motherhood struggle?  Is anyone else empty of joy?

It’s been almost six years since I’ve felt like myself.  Or, an old version of myself that I liked more.  I asked my husband if I seemed like the same person and he said “no, you don’t seem happy.”  He’s right. I’m not.

Will I ever be happy again?

Little At Home – Big At School

Two months ago, I was so delighted with the idea of my oldest starting kindergarten, and my youngest going to preschool two mornings a week, that I basically sang while I spoke about it.

Eeeeight hours alooooone each weeeekkk!!!

Then my oldest started kindergarten three weeks ago, and my youngest and I suddenly had some time together, just he and I.  It felt like I was meeting him for the very first time.  It amazed me that he already had so many thoughts and opinions on the things in his life.  He also started speaking so much more, and so much more clearly.  (My daughter is a chronic over-talker, she only stops talking when she falls asleep).

It was a whole new world for me and my little man.  So, yesterday I decided that preschool can wait.  This year, I’m giving my littlest a whole year of mommy to himself.  I can’t wait to see how he grows over this next year, what he learns, and the little person he becomes.

On a separate note…. how on earth is my daughter already old enough to be in kindergarten?  She just turned five at the end of June, but kindergarten in our district started July 11th because we are year-round.  So far she seems to be doing amazingly well, but I’m not going to act like I  don’t still feel like it’s wrong to drop her off at school and leave her for 7.5 hours.  Watching her tiny little feet walk down the big bus steps in the afternoon.  Hearing her talk about new friends, and people teasing her for this and that.  It’s all very emotional for me, since I never liked school, even kindergarten.  I’m glad she’s enjoying it, but I do worry that school is going to rob her of some innocence that could have been kept for longer if I had had the ability (mentally) to home-school.

I guess the point of this parenting business is that you never actually know the best thing to do.  You just have to trust your gut and keep your own insecurities in check so that they don’t rub off on your kids.  E loves school, S loves being home.  So, right now they are both thriving, and that’s good.

On Being A Girl

Lately there have been a lot of issues coming up involving women.  Some women marched a few months back, if anyone remembers, but there were women on the other side of that march who were flabbergasted that any woman in this country would have the audacity to march in a country where they had nothing to worry about, ever.  They failed to see how a woman making less than a man for the same job was troublesome, they failed to see how woman being assaulted was anything but the woman’s fault for “not being more careful,” or “wearing the wrong thing.”  They even defended when a woman was fired for being pregnant.  I seriously read a comment from a woman who said “a woman could not possibly do two jobs well at once.  She should just focus on the job of growing a healthy baby.”

This is the country we live in today.  It’s August 26th, 2017, and there are woman who still think that there is something inherently submissive about a woman.  “Women ARE different,” they say, “we are more frail, more emotional, more weak.”  They usually throw in a Bible quote somewhere too, proving that even God thinks women are there to make babies and sandwiches.

So, it’s not surprising the have my own mother in law say words like “you know E, she’s just overly emotional because she’s a girl.” or “she falls down a lot like me, plus she’s a girl, so she’s got two things working against her.”  She says these things with honesty. She believes them.  She says them often because my father in law finds my daughter’s emotions to be… annoying?  Icky?  Uncomfortable?  I’m not sure.  Usually it seems to make him a bit ragey.  Probably because he is incredibly repressed emotionally, and easy to anger.  So my mother in law thinks she’d defending E, and calming the father-in-law beast, by spouting off excuses for E’s emotions, justifying it by her also having a vagina, therefore making her an expert on all things woman.

I find it infuriating.  My daughter is four.  If she falls, if she is uncomfortable, if she’s sad, if she’s tired, if she’s confused or frustrated, she cries. Why isn’t that okay?  Why is it something that has to have an excuse?  My son cries ALL THE TIME, but that’s never because he’s a boy, no one even mentions it.  (Although my father in law will say “oh, cut that out, you’re a boy,” which also makes me want to throat punch).

I’m at a point in life where I don’t really know how to handle this situation anymore.  We live in their neighborhood and see them often.  They are not bad people, but their words are being heard, not just by me, but by my kids.  The last thing I want is for either my daughter or my son to feel like they shouldn’t be able to cry, for any reason they feel necessary.  That was the kind of house I grew up in.  I was ridiculed by every member of my family any time I cried.  It got to the point where I’d lock myself in the bathroom when I needed to cry, just so I couldn’t hear their taunts.  They called me “Katie Kaboom”  A cartoon character known for her sudden emotional outbursts.

I’m still an emotional person, but only to my immediate family.  My husband and kids see me cry, but I will hold every ounce of feeling back when I’m around my parents or sister. To them, they think I’m an uncaring robot.  Interesting, right?  If a woman cries, it’s because we possess a vagina.  If we don’t cry, there is something wrong with us.  Is there a way to win this gender war we are having?  Is there a way to be a strong woman who cries and wants equal rights in the world, or do we have to give up something about ourselves?  Can a man still be a man if they cry too?

Why are so many people trying to get rid of emotions in both genders?  Isn’t that the last thing this planet needs right now?  We need more compassion and love and empathy. That is what I am going to teach my kids.  That is what I am going to tell my in-laws, even though I know it won’t work. I will have to work extra hard to try and repair the damage they inflict.  That might sound harsh, but I know first hand what it feels like to hear that my emotions are wrong, and it does damage that will stay with you forever if you don’t have a voice that is even louder shouting “you can cry and I will hold you until you feel better.”

When It’s Easier to Plug-in, Unplug.

I knew today would be hard when I cracked open my eyes to see what time it was at it was only 5:54.  My daughter, standing at the side of my bed, leaning her face into my face, quietly asking if she could snuggle.  I peered back at her through blurry, glasses-less eyes and said “it’s too early, go ask your daddy….”  (He was on the other side of the bed, mind you).

I guess my answer should have been “sure, baby girl.  I know it’s an hour before your get-up clock says it’s okay to be in our room, but you never listen to that anyway because you are strong and independent, and I admire that!”

I just don’t like to be woken up, and especially not so damned early.  Turns out my son was working on a bowel movement and woke up 23 minutes later, screaming his face off.

This is motherhood.  It’s real and it’s raw.  It’s opening your weary eyes and having to immediately “get to work,” so to speak.  There is no waking up when your body says so, or going to the bathroom, or brushing your teeth, or drinking your tea/coffee while you listen to the silence of the earth rotating in space.  It’s just non-stop noise, dancing, hitting, yelling, eating, crying, screaming, laughing…. and that’s just from the four year old.

So, today, on day five of a very long week, I should have thrown my hands into the air and said “screw it!  Here’s an iPad, and the TV, and any snack you want, just be quiet for five minutes!!!” But, I didn’t.  I breathed through it.  I even did exercises every time I got frustrated (so, quite a workout).  I kept the TV off, I kept the iPad upstairs and my phone hidden.  I know that these things wear on my daughters mind.  They make her anxious and keep her mind running with all the noise and all the flashing colors.  She needed to be unplugged today, and so did I.

Sometimes the silence of being unplugged can be harder to fill with patience, because it definitely takes more work, but today, so far, has been an improvement on yesterday…. and that’s really all I’m asking for.