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.

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.

Oh, To Be A Mother…

When I was growing up, I knew I didn’t want to have kids.  I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.  I didn’t enjoy having to take care of someone else, as I learned when I would have to watch my sister.  I didn’t like playing make believe for ten hours, as I learned when my cousin was growing up.  I didn’t like the responsibility of taking care of a living being.  I didn’t even like having a pet dog, which my parents always decided was a good idea, but left me to take care of.

I dated in high school and college, a little. Nothing more than a couple weeks.  Nothing serious.  No thoughts of babies.  I knew I wanted to be married someday though.  That I knew for sure, but no kids.  I met my husband, and fell instantly in love.  I am not exaggerating.  I knew the instant I saw him.  Within a few weeks, or months, we talked to each other about our hopes for the future.  Not involving each other, per say, but just our general hopes.  Did I want kids? No.  Did he?  Yes.  How many?  Two.  Crap, well, now I want to have this mans babies.  Crap.

So, along we went. Dating for three years, marriage, infertility.  Suddenly, after IVF, a baby!  A beautiful baby girl.  I was happy, for a while. Until I wasn’t.  She required so much from me.  I felt drained, I felt like I would never have any part of myself back.  I was just a mom now, with a little wife on the side.  But me?  I was gone.

The depression started when my daughter was about 14 months old.  This is when I knew for sure that there would not be anymore babies.  My husband agreed.  Our daughter was perfect, but more babies wasn’t the right move for us.  Although there was one month when I was in, what I suppose would be referred to as a “manic episode” when we decided to go talk to the RE about doing an FET.  I was ready.  Until a few days later, when i realized I absolutely was not ready.  Never would be.  What was I thinking?  Had I completely lost my mind?

That was April.  July 16th I learned I was pregnant.  I was devastated.  I wanted to be happy, I really did, but I wasn’t.  I was scared.  I was so unhappy all the time. The depression had been so critical that I had to have my in-laws take care of my daughter on multiple occasions because I just couldn’t do it.  I’d sit in my bed and cry about how much I hated my life, how horrible of a mother I was, how I was letting my husband down.  Now we were going to have another one?  How?  Why?

A long time has passed since then.  My son is now 11 months old.  I love him, more than I can possibly say, but to say that I’m happy would be wrong.  I am constantly battling these inner demons that seem to be whispering “you’ll never do anything ever again except take care of kids and clean.” That’s it.  That’s my life.  I spend my days waiting for nap time.  Then i hold my breath until my son is asleep.  My daughter will read books for two hours if she doesn’t sleep, so she’s no problem at all.  If he doesn’t nap, I lose it.  All the sudden the walls close in on me, and I feel like I’m going to drown. I just need that time to decompress.  To sit in quiet.  To stare at the wall.  Not to hear someone yelling or crying.  I don’t want to have to pick up more toys, fetch more snack, change more diapers, watch more cartoons.

I know it will get easier.  This baby stage is so hard, so constant.  He needs me, and I understand that.  I’m glad to be there for him, most of the time, but there comes a point in every day where I just can’t muster up the desire to be a mom anymore.  When I wish I was anywhere else at that moment.  When I wish with all my heart that my husband was home with me, that we could parent together, so that I wouldn’t feel trapped and outnumbered.

It will get easier.  It will get easier.  It will get easier.

Maybe tomorrow I will do better.  Maybe tomorrow I will love harder.  Maybe tomorrow I won’t cry.  Maybe tomorrow it will get easier.

I Have Two Kids Now

Well, here I am, with two kids!  Is anyone else on the planet more shocked by this than me?

My son (S) is now 4.5 months old, and he is as big as E was when she was ONE YEAR OLD.  I’m having trouble with him not sleeping well, because in my head I’m all like “you are big, so you must be old.”  That’s not how things work though, I’m afraid.  Too bad though, I could really use some sleep.  Maybe soon…. *fingers crossed*

I know I haven’t been around much, but having two kids is ten times harder than having one.  (SURPRISE!) and most days I’m struggling to just eat food.  Not cold food, but any food at all.  When I do get to eat, I eat an entire plate of food in four minutes.  I’ve also been struggling with stomach aches… not sure why though.

My husband just got a vasectomy on Friday.  I’ll admit that on Thursday I was kind of freaking out.  I sort of wanted to stop the whole thing, have 12 more babies, and be one of those moms no one understands.  Luckily, it was just a mild freak out, my husband reminded me that I’m losing my mind, and he got it done.  When he got back home from the procedure, I was suddenly so calm and elated with the decision.  I could not be more happy that our family is complete, and now we can focus on things like preschool for E, and getting S to sleep (maybe?), and MAYBE… just MAYBE…. one day I’ll get to shower in the daylight again.  You see, S still sleeps in my room, and I have to shower after he’s asleep, and the light would maybe wake him up, and it’s not worth even trying to see if he’d sleep through it.  So, I shower in the dark.  I don’t shave now… I’m not that reckless.  Yes, I am as hairy as a bear now, thanks for asking.

Well, that’s about all the time I have now.  E isn’t napping and S just woke up from his and is staring at me.  I know he’s trying to tell me something…. but what??  Babies…

 

The TV Has Been Dead Nine Days Now….

Well, I’d like to say we made it 100% in nine days, but alas, we had a really bad day with a sick mommy, and an E who fell down a step and hurt her foot.  Add the fact that she refused a nap (for the first time in… I can’t even remember), we decided it might be nice to curl up on the couch and watch The Lorax.  It was nice.  She was exhausted, and mommy felt awful.  We snuggled, danced, laughed, and sang (why does this word always sound awkward? Singed..?).  When it was over?  She walked over to the TV and asked me to turn it off.  Unheard of!

Other than that?  Nothing. Not once has the TV been turned on, and after day four, she completely stopped asking for it.  This is actually huge.  We used to have the TV on all day and night.  More for background noise than anything, but always at the request of E, who chose what we were allowed to watch.  Although we did sneak in Modern Family and Big Bang in the evening before bedtime.  That’s a mommy and daddy type of need, especially when mommy had been watching Muppets and cartoons all day.

So, here are the results.

  •  E is more attentive to whatever she is playing with.  Blocks, letters, books, puzzles.  She takes time to look at what she’s doing, and although she still gets easily frustrated, I’m starting to believe that’s just part of her personality, or part of being two…. hopefully the two part.
  • E enjoys everything more.  She now randomly breaks into dances, she drums on tables and her tunnel.  She pretends more.
  • She no longer breaks down into hysterics when she needs something.  I mean, good god guys, it was the most traumatic experience in the world for her to run out of milk and need more.  Before asking “mommy, more milk, please” she would just immediately start whining and throwing her cup at me. “E NEED MILK!!”  I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying this.  Not to say all the hysterics are completely gone (I’m not sure that is a possibility with a two year old?), but we are down to maybe 2 episodes a day instead of 20.  Awesome sauce.
  • Now I can tell if she’s been watching TV.  Her grandparents are, well, grandparents.  They think that what mom and dad says is poo-poo and they can do whatever they want (they won’t even anchor dressers to the wall, which is a completely separate fight).  I get it, my grandma was notorious for not doing what my mom wanted, and my mom hated it.  I guess you forget that when you become a grandparent though.  My in-laws have the TV on all the time.  The tantrums she has thrown at their house the three times we’ve been there in the past nine days…. wow.  That’s all I’ve got.  They are either 10 times worse than before, or she’s just become so calm in the past nine days I had forgotten how bad it truly was.  I feel like this is a battle I can’t win though.  So I put up with it, and put up with the 24 hour grandparents house detox it takes for her to calm down and get back to normal.  It’s a long 24 hours….

So, this is the evidence I have that “breaking” your TV is the best decision for your toddler.  It might not be the easiest at first, because it will require a lot more of your time to keep them amused, but I am now finding that she will go into her playroom, or out onto the porch all by herself and play, and pretend, and come back in to tell me what she’s been doing.  Then, when she understands that I’m done doing whatever I was doing (cleaning, peeing, eating), she will ask that I come play with her, and I do, as I am no longer distracted by the TV either.  I’ve even been able to crochet in the same room as her while she plays.  It’s really been life altering, and I’m so glad I tried it.

…although I do occasionally miss The Lorax and The Muppets, I’m so glad I traded them for my little E.

You Must Be Patient

This is something I repeat over and over again to my two year old during the day.  I’m not sure if it’s all two year olds, but she has negative amounts of patience.  If she decides she needs something, it must happen IMMEDIATELY, or the wrath of E will be upon you!  It’s kind of intense most of the time, so we try to get her to calm down and tell us in a non-whiny, non-screeching voice, exactly what it is she needs.  Sometimes it works, sometimes she gets even whinier, screechier, and then some tears get thrown in.  It has to be hard to be a two year old, but I think it’s even harder to be an adult sometimes.

I’ve also been having to practice patience with myself.  I find myself constantly getting worked up because I am frustrated with my impatient two year old.  I find myself thinking “why can’t she just play with the puzzle by herself for two minutes while I crochet?  Why is it all about what SHE wants?!”  Then I have to shut my eyes, breath, and remember that she is two and I am 31, and if either of us should be acting like a two year old, it should be the two year old.  I am the mommy.  I made the decision to be a mommy, and with that comes certain responsibilities, like entertaining her, teaching her to be patient, and helping her understand that you shouldn’t bring your food into the bathroom to share with mommy while she’s on the toilet.

I understand that one day she will want less to do with me than… well, probably anything, and it hurts my heart already to know that that day will come, but there are days where I could take a bit of the cold shoulder and be okay, and I don’t think that makes me a terrible mother.  I think that makes me human.  I sometimes day dream of the pre-baby days, where I could sit on the couch and eat a snack without a toddler running off with the bag.  Where I could watch Ellen in the afternoon instead of Super Why.  Where I could get up and go to the store, or two stores, or three stores, without someone telling me they want to do something else, or that they need the balloon with Elmo, or that they want to sit in a different part of the cart.

Did things used to be easier?  Oh, yes.  Yep.  Uh-huh.  No doubt about it.  Would I change anything now?  Nope. No.  Not even a little.  I just need to learn to be patient.

You must be patient.

It Was The Bra…

My mom has a habit of blaming anything but the thing that needs to be blamed.  She used to blame my panic attacks on asthma.  She used to blame my pale skin on anemia.  She used to blame a hot day on my dads bad attitude.  She loves to blame the wrong thing to make herself feel better, when in reality, my panic attacks were from stress, my pale skin was from being sick, my dads bad attitude was because he is an alcoholic.

So, you see, she doesn’t make a whole lot of since.

Recently she had a scare.  She found a dimple on her breast and was terrified that it was cancer.  After a lot of searching, testing, and getting felt up, it was confirmed that she did not.  Yesterday she posted an article on Facebook about how bras do more harm than good, maybe even causing cancer.  Okay, maybe bras suck, but you’d think she would stop smoking cigarettes after a cancer scare, instead of burning all her bras.  But this is what she does.  She blames her mother quitting smoking for the reason her mother developed pancreatic cancer.  This is a direct quote “She quit smoking then, BAM!  Ten years later, pancreatic cancer.”

I wish that was a joke.  I think it would make for a very funny line in a movie where they are trying to prove that someones mother has lost their damn mind, but it’s not funny in reality, because she really, truly believes that… somehow.

I wish I could convince her to stop smoking.  I very much love my mom, but you know, if she stops smoking… bam…. ??

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.

Sometimes Lost

Sometimes I feel lost.  Truly lost in life.  I don’t know who I am, or where I am, or what I’m doing.  I don’t know which way to walk, or think, or if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I’m still getting used to being a mom, and even though I’ve been a wife for almost eight years, I find that becoming a mother makes being a wife a lot harder.  You now have to balance being a whole new person, working in glimpses of your old self so others can recognize you.

But how?  How do you not yearn to be that person you once were, that person you feel your husband still is?  Does he even understand what it’s like to be a new person with new priorities and a new life-long job?  Why is it that being a dad isn’t even close to as hard as being a mother?  I guess it’s a good thing and a bad thing, because this deep down love and overwhelming desire to be the best at something you have no training for, is what keeps me going in this new life.  If it weren’t for that sweet face that smiles at me, and that tiny hand that needs mine, I’m not sure I’d ever feel like I was part of this earth anymore. Was I even a part of it before her?  Sometimes I wonder if I was just floating through life, thinking I was this person I’d always been, when really I was just waiting to be a mommy. Waiting to become something that is impossible to understand or perfect.  Something that makes you realize that being a wife is nothing compared to being a mother.  The love is just as real, but so different in every way.

Will I ever feel like I understand myself?  Will I ever be completely happy with who I have become?  Will I continue to change and find my stride?  I hope so, because I still feel lost, and lonely, and confused in this new role.  Maybe that’s what motherhood is… a sense of being lost in another person.  Giving most of yourself up so that you can make this tiny person as happy, as healthy, and as loved as you can.  It is exhausting, this love, but it is everything.  It lights my lonely path, as I wander to find myself… Oh where could I be?

Anxiety Mommy

It’s hard having anxiety.  Crippling, overwhelming, hard to breath anxiety.  I’m lucky to only have anxiety that bad a few days a month, but that’s not all anxiety is.  Anxiety is always with me.  It is in every decision I make, every event I am planning, every future I foresee, and it is not nice.  Anxiety does not give me visions of seeing my daughter in high school, it gives me visions of something terrible happening to her.  I see every way in which she or my husband could be taken from me.  I even see ways that I could be taken from my family, never able to see my daughter grow up.

Every day I make sure she doesn’t pull on dressers, because I read a story about a three year old who pulled a dresser on herself while her parents were still sleeping and died while they slept.

I didn’t buy her a cubbie shelf (per the suggestion of her grandmother) because I had just read a story about a 13 month old girl dying from pulling one over and being knocked unconscious and suffocating.

I make sure the blind cords are up too high for her to reach because I read something about a five year old boy hanging himself accidentally in blind cords.

Everything I hear or read stays with me.  Forever.  Anxiety doesn’t let me forget.  It dwells inside me.  It lives there and breeds and grows and envelopes my brain.  The older my daughter gets, the worse it gets because the more she’s doing, the more danger shes’s in from the world.  I know these events are rare, but they are so incredibly tragic that I cannot ever forget.

…and it doesn’t even have to be something in her age group.  I just sobbed in the bathtub as I read comments on a post about delivering a stillborn baby (I couldn’t bring myself to read the post).  There were mothers talking about the heartache of losing their children to SIDS at two, five, six months old.  I flashed back to that age where I was so terrified of the same thing that I would wake 10-20 times a night to check my daughter to make sure she was still breathing.  She slept by my bed until 10 months.  After that I woke 10-20 times a night to watch the monitor and make sure she was breathing.  I still check her monitor 2-3 times a night (she’s 19 months old).

I worry about everything constantly.  It will most likely wear off on my daughter, as my mothers anxiety wore off on me.  I like that is makes me cautious, that I understand that bad things happen, but I’d really like to not fear walking along the sidewalk with my daughter because I’m scared a car is going to drive over the curb and hit us.  I’d like to leave the house without her without worrying that I’m going to die in a car wreck and never see her face again.

This anxiety is with me forever.  Medication will probably help (and i’m discussing this with a doctor soon), but it will never go away.  And that is exactly why I cannot fathom having another child.  How could I make it through another pregnancy, another year of SIDS watch, another full life of another human that I made, without completely losing it and locking everyone in the house and never leaving.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do it and take care of myself and take care of my daughter.  I know that, my husband knows that, and my daughter will know it one day.  I hope she can forgive me for my anxiety, and know that the decisions I’ve made to keep us a three person family were the best for not only me, but also her and her daddy.