When You Realize You’re In A Rut

I guess it takes getting outside of the rut to realize you were in one.  The problem is when you realize that you inevitably have to go back into the rut.  Once you’re back in… how do you cope?  How do you deal with the memories outside the rut and how much better you felt?  Here, let me explain…

This past weekend I went away with a couple of my lady friends.  We spent a great weekend in the city doing fun, geeky things.  We went a Comic Con type event, we ate great food, we relaxed, we had alcohol, and we danced, and we sang.  It felt great.  I even wore makeup every day and fixed my hair, and wore grown up clothes.

Now I’m back to being mommy.  I answer to the call of the wild humans who control my every moment of daylight.  I do not eat hot food, I do not change out of my pajamas, and I do not rest.  I am back in my rut.  It feels awful to say, but I am.  Even though I’m feeling better emotionally lately (less depression and anxiety), I still feel trapped.  Trapped by the mundane, trapped by the eating schedule, the sleep schedule, the constant neediness that is children.  It’s not their fault they are like this, it’s just how they are, but once you’ve tasted the freedom of the past…. it feels like you’re having to go back to wearing chains.

I’ve even begun to wonder if maybe my husband is bored with me.  Does he hate the mundane life that has been created here too?  Is that why he is always up for guys nights and golf weekends and basketball?  I have always understood, but I guess I really get it now.  The problem with this is that I’m never unsatisfied with my time with my husband. He is my source of calm, of normalcy, of peace.  I’d have the same night with him a million times, then a million more after that, and never get bored.  But my husband is a different person than I am.  He enjoys me (I hope), and he loves the time we spend together (I think), but I know he needs more.  That’s why he  plays around with developing apps, and plays video games after I crash for the night.

I have other things I like to do too, of course.  I crochet and I write, but by the time I’m done spending my quality time with my husband, I’m exhausted.  I guess I could blame life in general for this (kids are crazy exhausting), but I think it’s more my thyroid disorder than anything.  So my day is spent with the kids for 14 hours, then 1.5 hours with my husband, then I sleep.  There is no time to crochet or write… there is nothing left of me.  I’m a mommy and i’m a wife, and nothing else.  I guess this is why I find myself constantly on my phone during the day looking at Pinterest and Instagram.  My way of gazing out the window of my phone into other peoples lives.  People who have time to create, to write, to imagine.

I know one day things will be different.  The kids will be older and in school, then eventually they won’t want anything to do with me…. but that’s not what I want either.  It’s like I somehow want to live in this rut, but be able to fully enjoy it.  To make the rut comfy and happy and new, but I just can’t figure out how to do it.  Maybe venturing outside the rut a little more often can give me the necessary daylight and air to replenish my spirit and give me the strength to fill my rut with love… then, maybe, it just won’t be a rut anymore, but more of just a divot in the road.  A small little something that once tripped me up on my way through life.

When Your Child Shares The Worst Part of You

It’s bad enough that I have suffered from anxiety for my entire life, and depression for the last 3 years, but the worst part of having mental illness, is being aware that it could be passed to my children.  Well, I thought the worst part would be being aware of this fact, but the worst part is actually seeing it happen and not knowing what to do about it.

My daughter, E, has been struggling for the past couple months (and as I write this, I’m realizing that’s how long she’s been going to occupational therapy… I’ll think on this as I write).  She started picking the skin on her lip when she was sick with a cold.  You know how it goes, your nose is stuffy, so you mouth breath all day and night and dry your lips out until the crack and peel.  When this happened, E realized that she could pick the skin off, and she started doing it.  No big deal, right?  I’ve done the same thing.  Then she started doing it when she was better, and her lips began to bleed.  Both top and bottom lips were picked to excess, and she kept doing it.  She’d do it in bed at night, at school, and at therapy.  It looked awful, and I knew it had to hurt, but she kept at it.  Then she started picking at her fingers….

First she just picked the skin around her fingernails when she had a hangnail.  She’d bleed and whine about the pain, asking for a bandaid.  She fell in love with bandaids and would ask for one every time she got even a little scratch.  Soon she started picking at the skin so much she was picking off chunks of skin.  The bleeding was bad, the fingers looked awful.  We tried everything from asking her why she was doing it, to telling her that was not a good thing to do, to pleading with her to stop hurting herself.  Nothing has worked, and now all ten of her fingers are picked raw and bleeding.  Still, she picks.

I’ve had to send her to preschool with six fingers in bandaids.  The teachers are aware of what’s happening, and they are trying to redirect her attention when she’s doing it.  I know a lot of the time it’s just something she does.  She’s not actively thinking “okay, time to pick the skin til it hurts!” She’s just doing it.  It’s just something to keep her hands busy when she’s bored, nervous, anxious.

(I did think, for a few days, that she was doing it just because she wanted bandaids, but after offering her a box of bandaids all to herself if she stopped, and still not seeing her stop, I knew it was something else.)

…but what can be done?  Is this a phase?  Is it something deeper?  If it is, what set it off?  Could she be suffering from my depression, anxiety, and anger?  Are my outbursts and crying getting to her?  Is listening to her brother scream all day (because I’m not holding him) grating on her nerves as well?  Does it bother her that I have to hold him and give him more attention BECAUSE he will scream if I don’t?  Does she feel left out?  If so, what can I do?  How can I help her if I can’t help myself?  When will S be easier so that I can give equally to them both.  Or, can I?  Is that ever going to be a thing?

I want to help her, but I don’t know where to start.  Should I start with myself and hope that helps her? Or is this something that also lives inside her and has nothing to do with me or S?  Is this something that therapy set off?  Does she feel odd, knowing that we are taking her somewhere because she thinks we think there is something wrong with her?  I never really have been completely on board with the therapy (it’s for social and gross motor skills), but is 50 minutes a week doing exercises and interacting with other kids something that could set off her genetic anxiety bomb?

I’m not sure what we are going to do, but my husband definitely wants us to take her in to the pediatrician.  I assume they will want us to take her to a child psychologist, but I just can’t believe that it’s to a point like that.  Isn’t there anything that can be done by me first?  Can’t I help her?  She’s my little E, and all I want is for her to feel happy and safe and loved.  Can’t I push aside my own issues and do that?  I think I can…. and I will be better for her.  She needs me, and I can do this.

Right?

Can You “Do It All?”

I don’t want to know if it’s possible to “have it all.”  That honestly sounds pretty silly to me.  First of all, who wants that much shit?  Second of all, there is a never ending line of things being made, invented, and dreamed up every second of every day.  So, what does “having it all” really mean?  No, my question is something different entirely.  Can you actually do it all?

Can you actually have time to take care of kids, spend time with your husband, clean the house (dishes, toys, vacuum), do the laundry, go to the grocery store, make all of the meals, shower, bathe the kids, change diapers, take the kid to preschool, pick the kid up from preschool, play with the kids, do something you love (crafting, painting, reading), sleep, and still be a happy person?  If so, how?

I feel like a good first step for me is to sit back and really consider being a minimalist. Now, I already consider myself to be a semi-minimalist.  I don’t buy anything extra, but I have relatives who believe that if they don’t buy me and the kids things, all the time, that it means they don’t love us.  I’m not sure where this type of thinking comes into play.  I like giving gifts so very much, but even I don’t think you need ten gifts for every special occasion, and two on Tuesdays.

My mother in law is the worst.  It’s actually an addiction for her.  She’s completely addicted to shopping.  She will spend $400 on clothes for the kids a month, and the same amount on toys.  I’ve begged her to stop.  My husband has begged her.  My father in law has given her an endless amount of crap for it, but yet she persists.  She will visit, randomly, on a Friday and bring my daughter three new toys and my son one.  Even though our house is overflowing with things they don’t play with.  You cannot walk two inches without stepping on a toy.  Yet my kids are bored, or over stimulated, or something.  They hate it as much as I do, but I keep putting things out.  Why?  So I don’t offend her.  She shows her love through giving…. but what the kids really need her to give it time.

The biggest problem I’ve had since moving into the neighborhood with my in-laws is that their relationship with my kids is not the same relationship I had with my grandparents.  I was always with my grandparents (my grandmother mostly), or they were always with me.  They wanted to spend time with us, and even though my grandmother is a world class shopper, she almost never bought us toys.  She’d buy us clothes (ugh, boooring), and then send us outside to climb trees or play basketball, then we’d come in for dinner.  She was always there for us, and we’d spend hours everyday sitting on the porch, talking and swinging in the big porch swing.  These are my fondest memories.  I can name one thing she bought for me when I was younger, and that’s because it’s sitting in my bedroom right now, 25 years later.  It’s a wooden trunk, and it now holds books for my kids.  That’s it.

This is the kind of relationship I want my kids to have with their grandparents.  I want them to remember wagon rides around the neighborhood, and playing softball in the back yard.  I want them to remember dinners, and snuggles, and laughing.  I don’t want them to think of their grandparents as the gift givers.   Although my daughter now says “I’m going to ask grandma to get that for me” every time she sees a commercial for a new toy.  And you know what… if grandma is around when she sees that commercial, she will have that toy within the next two days.

So, what do I do?  How do I unburden myself from this weight?  How do I take the biggest problem, the biggest collection of junk strewn about my house, and make it disappear?  How do I get this one thing off of my plate so that I can take clean up time and put it towards family time?  What can I do besides offend someone who thinks this is how you show love?  Is there a fix for this that won’t hurt her feelings?  Or hurt our relationship?  Something has to give, and it has to be soon.

Birthday As A Mom

My birthday was yesterday, and it was basically a regular day with 2.5 hours of alone time in the morning, thanks to my in-laws.  I enjoyed it by grabbing some food and eating it in bed, taking a hot, quiet shower, and doing a little crafting.  The rest of my day was spent being a mom.

I remember when birthdays used to be the most special day of the year.  There was always a party, just for me.  Decorations, food, music.  Tons of friends coming over to celebrate my day.  This was high school, mind you.  As the years went on, and I got older, birthday’s became less important to those around me.  In college we’d all drink and laugh and maybe go dancing.  For my 21st birthday, which should have been the craziest birthday of all, we went to a bar and only me and one other friend wanted to revel in the festivities (music and beer).  The other three people didn’t.  I was bummed… and that was the beginning of the end for birthdays.

Now birthdays are a day where I take care of kids all day, just like every day before that, and I get more dings on my phone from Facebook friends wishing me a happy birthday.  Most of whom do not speak/type to me any other day of the year, which just ends up making me more upset about my birthday.  I’m not sure why, but I assume it’s because these people want to make me feel like they still care about me because Facebook reminded them that it was my birthday, not because they actually care.

Maybe I’m just bitter, and this depression is eating away at any joy I might possibly feel in life.

So, yesterday was my birthday, and it was nothing special.

I hate saying that, I hate feeling that, but my goal is to be honest right now while I’m going through this.  Hopefully a day will come when I will be so glad I no longer feel this way.  I’ll laugh and enjoy my birthday regardless of the amount of attention it’s given.  Maybe, someday soon, I’ll enjoy the little things again.

Other Kids

Yesterday I went to visit my family.  I love them, but they are all insane.  They now know about our infertility troubles, as I decided to “come out of the {infertility} closet” during National Infertility Awareness Week.  I wanted to be able to offer my story and have others come to me if they needed to talk.  I ended up having one friend contact me and has been talking to me about her procedures (which are so different from mine that I’ve already put in a request for her to write a guest spot).  She now has 12 embryos frozen and is waiting 6-8 weeks before transfer to avoid OHSS (I’d never head of this before…).  They got 26 eggs, so it seems like they made the right call.  Anyway… I got lost…

Okay, so, while I was with my family, my grandmother started telling me that if we are going to try with our other embryos, we should do it soon so our kids could be close together.  I told her I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to even imagine taking care of two children.  Then my sister, mom, and grandmother, almost in unison, said “two is easier than one!”

Um.  I get it.  I really do.  They have each other to play with, so they don’t need you constantly, like my daughter needs me.  That would be great.  Really, it would.  I could see her loving to have a companion.  I could see me loving her having a companion, but…. no one seems to understand what I’m actually saying, perhaps I should be clearer.

I do not know if I, personally, can take care of two children.

Before you say “yes you can!” let me explain that I still have days where it takes everything I have to not sit in a corner and sob because I am so overwhelmed with the word “mommy” and the fact that all I really want to do it sit on the couch and crochet without my daughter running off with my yarn.  I get irritated that my husband wants to play golf on the weekend, but hell, he works all week too, it’s not his fault he enjoys a sport that takes a million hours to play.  I get that he needs down time, but I still hold it against him.  I have days where I feel like I’d like to get up and leave, hide myself away at the beach for a few days (weeks?).  I want to spend more alone time with my husband, but by the time our daughter is in bed, we have maybe two hours to ourselves before we are passed out drooling, and most of the time we each have our own things we want to do with our two free hours a day.

I want meal times to be easier.

I want nap and bedtime to be easier.

I want to have an adult to talk to during the day.

I want to be able to go to the bathroom and shut the door.  (Today I had an upset stomach and she came in and closed the door, trapping us both inside – if that doesn’t haunt her nightmares, I don’t know what will).

I’m not ready.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready, because it’s not just about giving my child a playmate in two years (pregnancy + age a kid is able to “play”), it’s about trying to get pregnant, going on hormones that cause depression, wondering if our embryos will survive the thaw, wondering if my depression will make me actually run away on the day of the transfer, wondering if either of the embryos, or maybe even both, will stick, carrying a baby while I have a clingy, needy, toddler to take care of, having a baby with a toddler at home (I mean, grandparents aren’t far away, but they don’t want to keep her for a year, i’m sure… or doooo they?? I’ll check on that and report back…), then having to feed both kids, entertain both kids, put both kids down for a nap, or take one to preschool, pick one up from preschool, get to the grocery store, fix something for dinner, have the house is some sort of working order (I’m not saying clean, that’s just crazy talk), and then have time to feel like a human long enough to spend time with my husband and keep our relationship together?  (We struggled for quite sometime after having E — sometimes I feel like we might still be struggling a little).

To the women who have done this, and will tell me it’s easier than I’m making it out to be, I get it, truly I do.  You’re probably right.  If it happens, it’ll be my normal life and i’ll settle into it like I’ve settled into this life.  I’ll learn who goes for a nap first, who gets bathed first, how to make all the crockpot meals on pinterest, i’ll do it.  What I’m saying it that I can’t get myself to be at that point.  I can see the line, but I can’t get myself to cross it, not yet anyway.  My daughter just turned two, and this constant pressure to “get going because yada yada yada” is just, too much.  Who says kids born more than three years apart are bad, anyway?  Who wrote that rule, and where is it written?

I just realized that I titled this “other kids”, not meaning to yammer on about possible other kids for myself, but to talk about how I wanted nothing more than to snuggle my nephew (9 months) the entire time I was with my family yesterday.  I carried him around the store, comforted him when he cried, made sure my sister gave him plenty of carrots for lunch, gave him toys to play with from my personal purse stash, and gave him about a million kisses.  Did I , in that moment, want another baby?  No.  So isn’t that my true answer right now?

Go with your gut, ladies and gentlemen.  The size of your family, and the space between siblings, is not something to compare with others.  Make sure it’s right for you.

I’m hoping this is my last post on “the second baby conundrum” for a long time.  If I get a baby surprise one day (ha!) I will certainly let you all know.  For now, i’m not thinking about it, or worrying about it.  I’m hoping to use this blog as a place where I talk about how I’m simplifying my life, or what crafts I’m doing, or what random thought pops into my head (scary…).

Oh, and by the way, I love my daughter with my whole entire heart.  It’s not her fault she drive me crazy, she’s a toddler, and I’m a human, it’s normal.  Plus we spend 12 hours a day together, that would drive anyone a little crazy!  Just a little….. well, okay… a medium amount of crazy…

-E

Why Do I Want To Quit?

I’ve been wrestling with the thought of quitting Facebook for quite sometime now.  I find myself on it during the day while I’m supposed to be playing with my daughter, and that bothers me.  It isn’t guilt that I’m being a bad mother, it’s that I do actually want to be spending that time with her, but I’m not.  I find myself on it when we are playing with Legos, or eating lunch, or playing princess.  Why?  Why am I on it?  I can’t even tell you.  Sometimes I’m not even sure how I got to my phone.  Didn’t I tell her I was going to get a drink of water?  Why is she finding me hunched over my phone, silently yelling at strangers under my breath for saying stupid things about stupid things?  How can I stop this behavior?

Well, it seems simple, right?  Quit Facebook!  It wouldn’t be hard.  I’d still have text for friends, or the actual phone.  I’d keep pinterest, because honestly I only play on that at night when I can really get in there and search for something to cook, or crochet, or paint.  Instagram is lovely, but takes little to no time to look through.  Facebook is the only thing that really has it’s claws in me, and I hate it for that, and I hate myself that I am somehow that interested in who is eating where, who is voting for who, and who hates x, y, and z.

So, what do I do?  I tell myself that I have Facebook to keep family up to date on our daughter.  I guess that’s true.  I do like sharing pictures and funny things she does on there, but then I wonder if that’s even fair to her?  Should I share these things?  Is this something she would ultimately want?  What will we learn about privacy and ownership of these pictures and videos we post in the next ten years?  Is it worth it to find out?

I’m struggling with thinking that I might be giving something up that keeps me going, that keeps me linked to the world while I’m inside my house with a two year old all day, but honestly, I find that I am happier and less anxious on days when I delete Facebook from my phone and pretend it doesn’t exist (I do this often, if that’s not a sign of my true desire, I don’t know what is).  Sometimes I sneak on through my phones web browser…. that’s when I really worry about myself.  I can’t wait just five hours to get on Facebook and find out who likes The Daily Shows latest clip?  Why?  I honestly can’t answer that.

So, here I am, wondering what to do.  I can deactivate for a week and see how it goes, apparently Facebook keeps everything right where it is, in case you decide to come back.  There is an option to delete, but I’m not there yet.  I’m not ready to give it up.  If I deactivate, I have to explain to family friends why I’m no longer available for tagging and messenger.  They’ll ask what’s wrong, and tell me I’m crazy.  “It’s good to have this outlet, this window into the world while you’re at home all day.  You’ll go crazy without it!  How will we get in touch with you?  How will we see little E?”  Well, they could call or visit, right?  Should I worry about what they think?  Should I worry I might be losing a connection, or should I rejoice in the deeper connection I will ultimately have with my daughter?  Can I become the person I truly want to be?  Can I be the mom who isn’t hunched over her phone all day?  I hate seeing my husband on his all day, I can only assume that’s how my daughter sees me.  That’s why she pulls on me, yells at me, whines for my attention while I’m reading a story about someone else’s child.  She needs me, and I need her.  This is for her.

I think I’ve made my decision.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

All Praise The Chiropractor

Well, it wasn’t an aneurysm, or a brain bleed, or even a tumor.  It was a messed up neck and back.

I’ve struggled for a long time with neck, shoulder, and mid-back pain.  It’s getting worse and worse, but every six weeks (sometimes four weeks) I go to the chiropractor, and my pain is immediately healed for a few weeks.  Now that my daughter is growing, getting heavier, and becoming way more demanding of me, my back pain is worse.  Couple that with HUGE BOOBS (I mean, I’m a 34H now, and I was a 34DD before my daughter), and the anxiety that I still have (which is NOTHING compared to where it was before I started taking Magnesium), I get a lot of pain.

I would have never in a million years guessed that all I needed to cure my exploding brain pain during sex was a chiropractic adjustment.  Never.  I still don’t believe it.  First, I help my anxiety with Magnesium?  Seriously??  Then, I am relieved of this tremendous amount of pain by a simple adjustment?  I don’t even know what to say.  It sounds stupid to even write this.  You all are going to think that I’m trying to sell you something.  I mean, I have nothing to sell you, but if you’d like to just give me some money, I’d be okay with that.

I am so sorry to have frightened anyone about my health.  I’m sorry I frightened myself and my husband.  I just had no idea.  Now I know that a messed up alignment can really jack you up, in the worst way possible.  If you suffer from constant headaches, back pain, or neck pain.  RUN, don’t walk, to the best chiropractor in your area and get yourself straightened out (literally).

I’m going to go relax now, or have sex, because I totally can without breaking down into hysterical sobs!  Score!