Thankful Thursday

I watched the 2010 Alice in Wonderland with my kids last night, and it was great. I had 3 of them curled up in my lap and life was good. I love this movie, and I’ve got a strong desire to read the book now. I loved how inquisitive my kids were about everything in the show, and I love that they’re still young enough to think that I have all the answers 🙂

For some reason this show has been on my mind a lot lately, maybe it has to do with how crazy I am, and how crazy it is, but I feel a strong kinship with this movie. I feel an even stronger connection to the quirky quotes in the book. I can handle madness, but I don’t know if I can handle as much madness as in that book! That’s why I haven’t read it yet, lol. 

So with all that rambling, can you guess the things I’m thankful for today? I’m thankful for happy, healthy children…and the love of reading!

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” 

“Curiouser and curiouser!” 

“The time has come
The walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sae is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.” 

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Motivational Monday

What motivates you? I had that question asked to me a couple times over the last few days, and it’s really eaten at me. My kids should motivate me, but when I get super depressed, they’re not motivation enough. I think I’ve learned that true motivation has to come from within. Josh has been working out a lot lately, and I’ve not been super supportive. It’s probably a good thing his motivation is internal because I’ve really been slacking on the external. He is a great example of internal motivating keeping you going because if all you’re relying on is a cheerleader, well, there are times when that cheerleader is going to let you down.

And I think that’s been my problem for a long time now. I rely on external motivation to continue doing something when all I really need is the inner cheerleader in me to keep going at it. I’m so afraid of doing something wrong though, or being inappropriate, or sticking my foot in my mouth, or any other numerous ways I can look like an idiot that I can’t be my own cheerleader. Now that I’ve discovered that was what was holding me back, I’ve become determined to overcome it. I can’t really live if all I’m surrounded by is fear of making a move. So I’ve started moving. Slowly. Carefully, like a jungle cat hunting for it’s prey. I test the environment outside of my comfort zone for a little bit and then I scurry right back inside it. But, I’m staying out there a little longer each time.

I’ve made the goal to become more sociable and to worry less about how people perceive me. I’m working on smiling more, and being attempting to strike up a conversation with someone on occasion. I’ve gotten in contact with friends I’ve been avoiding for months and made lunch dates with them. And you know what? I feel better about myself. I like the me who has friends to talk to. I like the me that leaves the house for lunch dates. I’m taking it oh so slow, but hey, at least I’m moving in the right direction, right?

Just because I love having an excuse for showing these faces off, here are some examples of people who motivate me. These are just some pics of me with my younger kids over the weekend. When I’m doing well, how can these adorable faces NOT be motivation enough to stay strong? They’re definitely motivation now, but when things get tough, I’ve got to find the strength from within. As do we all.

 

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all3 bwliam liamolive oliveliam

 

Words have a powerful effect on people.

I read a great article today on facebook. It talks about what a SAHM needs from her husband, and how they can better support each other and create a ore loving, thriving marriage. I want to share this letter with you, in the hopes that it can help spark a talk, or a notion that can help you in your relationship.

I read through this letter, and thought, ‘damn!’, I really need to take this to heart. I rarely take GNO because I don’t think I need them…but I feel so much better when I do go out with the girls. And I don’t give my husband enough credit for having worked a long hard day at work, I expect him to come in right away and be family man. I think it would help our relationship out dramatically if he decompressed for half an hour or so before coming home on especially rough or tiring days. I also wish I could be responsible enough to cook a dinner and have it ready every night, but it just seems like that will never happen *sigh* And it’s too much of a hassle for Josh to work a 9 hour day, commute home, and then cook for the family…so my family is suffering a bit on the nutritional side of things until I get the cooking thing down more. I also wish I was more appreciated for the things I DO actually do. The way this woman describes a trip to the pool with 4 kids is spot on, and my hubby seems to think it was just a walk in the park. I sometimes wonder if he thinks that they don’t actually run wild and screaming all over the place and that they really just sit quietly on their chairs and read the Bible while each other child gets a turn in the water.

And about the secretly loving the attention your spouse hands out…it’s true…after having 4 children ripped out of my body, it’s nice to know someone still finds me attractive. I won’t say anything about the non-sexual touch, because I’m the one who wants it more often in my relationship, lol, so no need to touch on that…and then the talk about trips versus vacations..of so true!

We go on family vacations and come home more tired than when we left! I’m dying for the kids to get a little older, and we can leave them with a sitter and feel less guilty about it,. Then we’ll  get a ‘real’ vacation, one with a hotel, and no kids, and us getting to do exactly what we’d like for a day or two. I’m grateful for my children and all, but eventually one day they’ll leave and go on their own way…I’m still going to have my husband, so I need to nurture that relationship just as much as I nurture the relationships I have with my children.

And some of these things I definitely need to vamp up in my own life. I need to stop comparing. I need to look forward to dates with my husband more often. I need to not dump all my day’s problems on him the minute he walks in the door. But I also need more praise. I like it to be noticed when he mentions something and I take note and it’s done without him asking. Like I’m willing to bet you money he won’t notice the sheets on our bed have been washed and put back on for him, just because he was complaining about how dirty the bed was this morning. I do it because I love him, but I’m a lot more motivated when I get praised and noticed for the hard work I do put in, even though I have my personal struggles, I do try and put in effort and I like to be noticed for it. I probably need to work harder on praising Josh as well, so one more thing for me to improve on as well.

And the very last part…about there being no one other person I’d rather be going through these struggles with…so true.

It’s been 7 years, and it’s still just as true today as it was those 7 years ago.

I often hear young moms complaining about their needs not being met.  About things they wish they had, wish they received, wished their husbands did…  And I realized…  not all husbands “get it.”  Some take longer to learn their wives than others.  And some wives don’t help the situation at all.  We play games.  We expect much but express little.  Today, I felt compelled to write a letter.  On behalf of stay at home moms.  If you’ve never said it.  Or he’s never “gotten it.”  I hope this helps.

To: My Husband.

From: Your Stay at Home Wife/Mom.

I used to think it would be so romantic if you just knew me so well, that you knew exactly what I needed.  I would never have to verbally share with you my needs because if you really loved me, you would know what they were, even before I did.  You, my love, were to be nothing less than a mind reader. It sounded fabulous and romantic.   However, we’ve been married awhile now. And reality has set in.  You are an amazing man.  An incredible husband.  But I must tell you: You are horrible at mind reading.  And it’s not your fault.  I now get it.  It’s physically impossible. There’s nothing you can do to acquire this superpower that I wish you possessed.   So today, I am declaring that I am letting you off the hook.  No more guessing.  No more expectations unmet.  Today, I lay it out.  I’m giving you a peek into me.  But once you know, you are responsible for that knowledge.  No more playing dumb.  No more acting clueless.  You can choose to stop reading here if you enjoy the guessing game.  Ah, you’re still reading?  Awesome.  I love that about you.  You’re IN.  I knew it.

OK wait.  Before I express my needs, let me explain something that might be difficult to understand:

I love our kids.  I love my role as a mom.  But honestly?  It’s tough.  And here’s the tricky part – those 2 things DO co-exist.  One doesn’t trump the other or cancel it out. I love it – And I’m tired. It’s an honor – But it’s exhaustingly hard work.  I’m fulfilled – And I’m drained.  Get it?  Me either.  It’s tricky and complex.  But it’s called Motherhood and I’m in the thick of it.  OK, so in light of that, here’s what I need.  Or want.  TomAto….TomAHto. Here’s the reality in no particular order….

1) I need to refuel.  And it’s not by grocery shopping with only 1 kid instead of all 3.  I need to get out of the house.  Alone.  I need to ride in my car and listen to adult music.  I want to use the public restroom in the small stall. The one without the changing station.  Alone.  I don’t need extravagance.  [I mean, I won’t turn down extravagance, of course.  But I don’t need it.] 😉 You know what I’d love?  To wander the isles of Target for an hour.  Or to sit at Starbucks alone for 30 minutes.  Or to walk in a shopping mall without pushing a stroller.  It really is that easy.  Will I come back completely changed and ready to conquer the world? Honestly?  Sometimes yes.  But mostly, no.  But what I WILL come back with, is a little more life in me.  I will have a spring in my step.  It’s a little shot in the arm.  I reeeeallly need this.  When you ask if I want it, and I say, “I’m OK.”  I need you to tell me to go anyway.

2) Please don’t call and ask what’s for dinner.  If anything, call and ask, “Do we have dinner plans?  If not, can I stop by the store and pick anything up?”  I love you.  And I love providing nourishment for our family.  But when I have spit up running down into my bra and a toddler who just learned to take off his own dirty diaper, The Call adds that little extra pressure in my day that just makes me want to accidentally change the locks on the front door.

3) When I take the kids to the pool, please know that I didn’t spend the day poolside with a cocktail.  Sometimes I feel like that’s how you view the life of a stay at home mom.  In reality, every 2 minutes, I’m doing roll call to make sure everyone is above water.  “1..2..3..…1…2…3…” over and over and over and over.  I’m changing poopy swim diapers on hot concrete and peeling wet swimsuits off tiny bodies because they have to go potty AGAIN.  I’m schlepping towels and sunblock and swimming goggles and dive toys and flippers and water shoes and cover ups and diapers and wipes and snacks and drinks.  I have one child who has no fear of water and is jumping into areas he’s not allowed to, and another child who’s deathly afraid of the water and is leaving claw marks in my arm.  Blood has been drawn.  A walk in the park is not a walk in the park.  It’s chasing, and counting, and disciplining and refereeing.. A day at the pool is all of that, in a big hole of water.  Attempting to avoid death.  For real.

4) I’ve been nursing a baby all day long.  My “nursers” are over stimulated.  The last thing I desire when you get home from work, is to have one more person perusing the “food court.”  Those are not yours right now.  They are on loan to the person they were actually created for.   Your time will come.  It’s just not today.  If you will understand this and not let it become a point of tension, I’m certain you’ll get extra rewards in heaven.

5) However, when we’re home and you walk by me in the kitchen and grab my butt, and I swat you away, I don’t mean it.  I secretly love that you still want to be playful and frisky.  The timing may not be right, or I just don’t know what to do with your playfulness because my brain is counting the number of loads of laundry waiting for me.  But please don’t stop.  I need to know you still like me.  I understand this is confusing in light of the point above.  I can’t explain everything.  I’m just informing.  I’m complex like that.

6) I need a Girls Night Out every once in awhile.  While we both know you rock, I  need some time with girlfriends as well.  Unless, of course, you would like to discuss bikini waxing, my period and the latest fashion trends with me.  No?  Cool. Girl’s Night Out it is.

7) I need non-sexual touch.  I know you don’t quite understand what that is.  Just pretend it’s valuable and possible.  The grabbing mentioned above is fun and all, but sometimes I just want to feel your arm on my shoulder, without it slowly moving a few inches south.  I need your physical affection without motive.  I need to know that you like to just be with me.

8) When you walk in the door, let’s make a deal:  You won’t walk straight to the family room and collapse on the couch with the remote… And I won’t greet you at the door with all 5 kids, dump them on you and clock out.  When you come home from work, let’s do it together. Share the load.  If you need to decompress from your day at work, please take the long way home.  Drive around the block a few extra times if you need to.  Just don’t walk in and disconnect.  You are my Knight.  I love knowing you’re coming home.  I can’t feel like I have another child to care for when you walk in the door from work.  I need my partner.  My teammate.

9) That trip we took with the kids was awesome. We created family memories.  We had fun.  But that’s exactly what it was – a “trip.”  I now need a “vacation.”  A vacation is like a trip.  Just without the diapers and wipes and baby food and high chairs and primary color toys.  Oh, and without the tiny humans that come with those things.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those tiny humans. But a break to refuel, refresh, clear my mind, etc..is invaluable.  I have no way to explain what a true vacation will do to me. Other than to say hotel room sex is fabulous.  The end.

10) When you come home to a clean house, be assured it didn’t look like that hours earlier. There were crackers smashed on the floor, toys everywhere, food smeared on walls, 8 outfit changes from our preschool daughter strewn around the house…  If you come home to a clean house, please notice.  Please say something.  Acknowledge that it obviously took superhuman powers to get it to the state it is.  It sounds silly and needy.  Maybe I am.  But you know that “atta boy” you got from your boss at work that made your day?  Ya, I need that too.

11) When we go to a restaurant, sometimes I need you to offer to sit next to ‘the kid.’  You know, the one that needs extra assistance.  The one that cries and grabs and throws and needs.  When I say, “No, it’s OK. I’ll sit next to The Child” I need you to gift me with the break anyway.  I’m not saying every time.  But we both know that going to restaurants with The Child is difficult. I’d so appreciate sharing that load with you.

12) I need to go on a date.  With you.  I need to wear clothes that don’t smell like any type of child’s body fluid.  I need to order food for just me.  I need to eat it while it’s hot.  I need to look into your eyes.  I need to hold your hand.  I need adult conversation.  And while the topic of kids might creep into our conversation, let’s commit to keeping that to a minimum.  We spent so much of our dating years getting to know each other. Asking questions.  I was your student and you were mine.  A lot has happened since then.  You and I have changed and grown. Let’s learn about each other again.  Re-discover who we are today.  Let’s know and be known.   Let’s date.

13) Let’s commit to not comparing.  My friend might be prettier.  Or a better homemaker.  Or parent with ease.  Her husband might be more romantic.  Or more successful.  Or a more engaged father.  There’s always going to be someone who does what we do, but better.  Or so it seems.  Let’s commit to not comparing.  Comparison will steal our joy.  It will take the wind out of our sail.  It will make us feel defeated.  Or frustrated. Or angry.  Or all of the above.  Let’s be honest – everyone else is just as messed up as we are.  We just see the beautiful, shiny outsides of them that they put on display, and tend to compare it to the dysfunctional, broken insides of ourselves that only we know.  Let’s just be the best “us”we can be – keeping our eyes ONLY on OUR path.  I love you.  I chose you and you chose me.  Let’s be in for US and US only.

Thank you for hearing me.

You may not understand it all.  I don’t even know if I do.

This season is glorious and difficult.

And in all the uncertainty, the only thing I do know is there is NO ONE I’d rather do this with, than you.

You are exactly the “who” I need.

The other stuff is just the “what” I’d love from you.  I ask you to just try.

And if you’re willing, I’d love a list like this from you in return.
This is a tough season for us both. I know you have needs you rarely express as well and I’d love a peek into those if you’d be willing to share.

I love you and love that we’re living in what we’ll someday call “the good old days.”

You have my heart forever.

I’m giving credit to Deanna Rischer Ramsay because that is the page this was shared from. I don’t know where she got it from, but it is awesome.

Day 9: Change can suck sometimes.

This writing thing is hard. I don’t think I realized how hard it was coming up with something new every day until I started trying it. I’m glad I’ve got my schemas going on and can discuss those, but it’s hard to keep writing when I really don’t want to. Just a quick note here, I thought I could write about my 5th schema tonight, but it’s just not happening. When I started I was in a great mood, and was motivated, and had energy, and life was amazing. And then I cycled.

I feel like crap, and I just want to curl up into a ball and not deal with anything. I’ve fallen into this deep pit of despair and see no way out, so I’m just struggling to stay afloat. This is the hell people with bipolar live with. I go to bed and have no clue what emotion I’ll be dealing with when I wake up the next morning. I’ve been crushingly depressed the last 2 days, and for absolutely no good reason. I was happy as a clam for a good few weeks, there was no reason for things to change, but they did. All I can do is wait as patiently as possible for this dark cloud to lift and the sun to come out again. I get so sick of waiting patiently though. I get so sick of the sun going down so often and for no reason. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t see me living a long and fruitful life going up and down like this. I can’t hack it. The people around me can’t hack it. I mean, don’t freak out, I’m not suicidal now, but that option sure looks more and more appealing the deeper I fall into this black hole. And its not even because I see no way out. I know this too shall pass, and I’ll feel on top of the world again, but I don’t know when. And even though I’ll cycle back, I know I’ll then start playing the waiting game again for the next time I crash. And I don’t want to live like that. It’s a bullshit way to live your life. It’s a horrible life to let others into because it becomes their hell too.

I mean, in fact, life is going rather well. My husband got offered his new job, and he starts in 2 weeks, we bought a new car yesterday that is ten times nicer than any one we’ve ever owned before. We’re paying an arm and a leg for it, but with Josh’s new job, we can afford it. I want to refinance ASAP though, just so we’re not continuing to pay an arm and a leg. I try to live as non-extravagantly as possible for some reason. We’ve been through two unemployment eras since this depression hit, and I like to keep our debt to income ratio as low as possible. You know, just in case. I think this preparing for the ‘just in cases’ in the worlds are wearing me out. It is physically and mentally exhausting trying to worry about every scenario that could go wrong, and yet I keep doing it. Josh is sitting over here happy as a lark about his new job, and our car, and the change that is happening all around us, and I’m lying in bed crying about nothing.

I think what is really eating at me is the change that’s happening all around me. Even though it’s good change, beepers don’t do so well with change. I mean, our insurance is changing at the end of the month and we’ll have copays again, and our prescription costs will be higher, and yeah. We met our out of pocket back in March, so we’ve been enjoying free healthcare since then. Starting in August we’ll be paying for services again. I’m trying to think of what all I need to have done in the next 2 weeks before we roll over into a new insurance plan, lol.

And then there’s the housing issue. I found a house. A glorious house. A gloriously perfect house. And it made me realize that we’re not going to live here forever, and that’s another change I’m not prepared to deal with. We didn’t get the gloriously perfect house, someone else jumped on that offer before we could, but that’s okay. God works on his own time, and when it’s time for our gloriously perfect house to appear, it will. But I’m already overwhelmed and depressed about the thought of packing everything up, and going through the work  of moving into a new place, even though it’s at least a year away before it happens. I am not being very mindful right now. Right now, mindfulness sucks, and is hard, and I don’t even want to deal with trying to do it.

So that’s been life the last few days. My mum is super worried about me, and Josh is super worried about me, and I just don’t care. Right now I’m teetering on the edge of destruction, so it’s a good thing I see my psych doctor tomorrow so I can talk to him and see what he recommends. We’ll see if he thinks I’m dangerous enough to be admitted. I mean, idt I am, just because I’m not actively suicidal, but he’s a new doctor, so I don’t trust him too much just quite yet. And besides, I made a goal of 31 blogs in 31 days, and well, they don’t allow electronics on the psych ward, I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I missed a week of blogging. I’m giggling at the thought of trying to get my inpatient therapist to approve letting me have an hour a day to blog for ‘therapeutic’ reasons. I make myself laugh. I love it. Josh thinks it’s cute how much I manage to amuse myself. I’m like a puppy chasing it’s tail and being perfectly happy.

Speaking of puppies, I have to share with you the cutest story. My son is 3, and one of his favorite things to do when he’s not being Batman is to be our puppy. He’ll crawl around and bark, and come over and nuzzle our knee to get petted. If only he’d show some interest in potty training, he’d be the perfect pet. Well, our 18 month old has a speech delay due to mild hearing loss, so she doesn’t talk or anything yet. She makes a lot of sounds, which is good, it means her hearing is probably either improving, or just staying mildly impaired. So, I guess needless to say, when she does something with sound or anything interacting with us, we get wildly excited. I tell you about my son’s game of playing puppy so you’ll understand this story with my daughter. She’s been walking since the end of March, and doesn’t generally crawl anywhere anymore. But for some reason the other day she started crawling around on the floor going ‘ruff, ruff, ruff’! Believe me, it doesn’t sound like that, but whenever we say it, she gets down and starts making the same sound. It is so freaking adorable. If I had it captured on video, I’d be linking it for your viewing pleasure.

I’m glad I made the decision to write tonight. I’m actually feeling a whole lot better now than I was when I first started. There’s still so much more I could write about, like my disgusting house and how depressed I am about it, and how hard I am on myself for not being able to keep it clean, but that’s related to my unrelenting standards schema, so I’ll save it for when I finally write about that. I keep making the goal to get one room a day clean, and my poor mum, she was worried enough about me today, she came over and helped me achieve my goal of getting the kitchen done. Me, my oldest, and my mum all worked on it, and it’s nice and sparkly now. With any luck, I’ll have the urge to finish up my living room tomorrow, and then I’ll have two nice and sparkly clean rooms. That will thrill me to no end.

What brings you up when you’re down? How do you respond to change? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Day 8: Why are you putting yourself in last place?

Who can guess what a person with this schema does? If you said ‘played the martyr!’ you’d have it right. People with this schema sacrifice their own needs to the point of excess in order to help others. When these people pay attention to their own needs, they often feel guilty. To avoid this guilt, they put others’ needs ahead of their own. Often people who self sacrifice gain a feeling of increased self-esteem or a sense of meaning from helping others. In childhood the person may have been made to feel overly responsible for the well being of one or both parents.

This schema definitely hits a chord with me, I distinctly remember there being times when I was growing up that my dad expected me to care for him. He had open heart surgery when I was 13 and left me in charge. On my own and no instructions for the nurse to help me manage his care. I had my brother there of course, but he was 11, and he couldn’t  seeing Daddy so sick. I always had to worry about him and his needs, in addition to the needs of the house. I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t perfect enough. I fled to my mum’s house shortly after I turned 14, to a situation that wasn’t much better. 

Instead of having a daddy to take care of, I suddenly had 3 new step siblings and a step dad, and I became mum’s confidante. Looking back, both of them forced me to grow up, I wonder which would have done me the greater good ultimately? At least if I’d stayed in NC I’d have learned how to cook and clean, skills which I definitely need now, but what kind of childhood is that? Growing up here I was the red-headed step child, but it meant some kind of ‘typical’ childhood. 

I made my bed, I stayed here and I had to lie in it.

 I got pregnant at 17 and received enormous pressure to give her up for adoption, but I was keeping my child, come hell or high water. Here is where the mistakes of the fathers become the mistakes of the children and it’s painful to watch, I screwed my kid up. In so many ways. Ways my mother did that I swore I would never repeat. This precious bundle of joy was my life, my soul, my very reason for being. I couldn’t do enough for her because I felt no one had ever done enough for me, she would never suffer that same disappointment, But I had no real world experience for ‘what is best for a child’. I consistently put her needs ahead of my own to the point where I ultimately had a breakdown and spent 6 weeks in the hospital. Having always been a single mum, and it just the two of us she had no routine, she had no bed time, and as she got older it became more and more manipulative my child was becoming, Thank goodness I met my husband and we had kids too because we were able to reverse a lot of the damage I’d done to Adia by the time she was 10, 

Now that I’m the mother, I still struggle in this schema bt making sure my children’s needs are met long before I’ll even contemplate meeting my own. I mean right now for example, I have a coupon for free glitter toes that I would love to redeem, and I’d love to get my hair done, but I’m not about the waste the money or time on making me look nice. My kids clothes come from Wal-Mart and the Mall, Mine come from Goodwill. It’s lead to fights before because my husband isn’t putting these restraints on my spending, I am. I’m too afraid to spend because what if someone else needs it more than I do and its gone?

This isn’t really a schema I’m ready to fully deal with right now. I think I’ll always have some self-sacrificing traits in me until the day I die. I think every mother does. But I’ll leave you with this question, “If the airplane is going down, who’s mask do you put on first; theirs or yours? Yours of course because you are of no good to them if you pass out and can’t get your children’s masks on. So try and keep your mask on.  If your mask is on, and you’re breathing, everything else will naturally fall into place.  

Did I learn anything about myself completing this assignment? I think I did. I learned that I’ve got to keep my cup full before I can truly be there for someone else, even my children. Did you learn anything new today about yourself upon introspection?

Let me know in the comments below!