parent

I got treated to a coffee date with one of my dearest girlfriends Saturday. After speaking to her Friday and letting her in on my need for a break she asked me on a date so we could chat and catch up. Since our move last summer I haven’t really been able to see my friends on a regular basis – we’ve all got a ton going on and with this new distance between us it’s a little difficult to get together as much as before. So, this was an extra special treat. Naturally, the conversation came full circle and we ended up talking about our kiddos (break right?). I told her about my blog and how I write about how damn hard parenting is sometimes and she stopped me dead in my tracks by asking me what makes me an awesome parent.

Well shit, do you know that I really didn’t know how to answer her? I just looked at her dumbfounded and in that moment I realized that I don’t give myself enough credit for the parts of motherhood that I’m actually pretty good at.

capp

I don’t have it all figured out- nope, not even close but I am doing the absolute best I can. There are days that I consciously ignore my kids saggy diaper butt to avoid another diaper change meltdown. There are also days where she watches more T.V than is recommended and we don’t delve into book reading, creative activities or momtastic activities like foot painting or glitter gluing.

There are days that my brain, heart and body are just tired and you know what, I think that’s okay… sometimes.

There are bad days and there are good days and on those good days I’ll tickle my little girl until she laughs so hard she cries. Those days are the ones where I let her explore, make messes and let her just be her – in all her messy glory. Those days actually happen more often than they don’t. So, maybe I’m being a little too hard on myself.

After much thought and reflection this weekend I came up with a random list of reasons why I’m an awesome mum to Margs. I think “us” Mums/Dads are far too hard on ourselves and often fail to see and acknowledge what a good job we do most of the time. We are good enough – we just have to stop, take a deep breath and appreciate it more often, don’t we?

Let’s have at it, shall we?

/ I am an awesome Mum because I’ve created and maintain a safe physical and emotional space for Margs

/ I am an awesome Mum because I love Margs unconditionally and always put her first

/ I am an awesome Mum because (despite my type A personality) I’m allowing Margs to “fall” so she can teach herself to get right back up again (both figuratively and literally)

My friend reminded me to stop and pat myself on the back every now and again so now I’m going to do the same for you – some days we just need that extra shove to put it all in perspective.

Now, I absolutely, categorically insist that you share why YOU are an AWESOME parent too!

Save

Save

Follow:

Friday! My gosh, how is it already Friday?

bed

This last week has been a blur – a sleepless blur. I’m somehow convinced that after boasting to our pediatrician that Margs sleeps through the night (albeit in our bed) karma decided to teach me the very important lesson that bragging isn’t cool by having my kid decide that suddenly she wants to be nocturnal.

She’s been up consistently from midnight to 4 am, 3 nights in a row. I’m surviving on short naps and coffee. Hopefully this “phase” (teething possibly?) will pass soon and we’ll be back to business as usual.

Speaking of Margs, I got an email this week asking me why I don’t post full frontal shots of my little girl . Great question since I don’t think I’ve ever directly broached the subject.

IMG_1345.jpg

Profile cuteness.

I thought the question was interesting and it sparked an interesting conversation between Mer and I about our own positions on digital citizenship and where we stand with regards to sharing our lives on the internet – or, how much we’re willing to share with the Internets.

Hey, did I ever tell you I was a teacher? I taught math to a bunch of 10 and 11th graders but also got the privilege to teach a class about digital citizenship when I decided to head back to school and get a graduate degree in education and technology. Basically, I  taught kids about responsible internet use in a society where technology is a fundamental part of day to day life. Fun fact,most 10th graders in this area believe that facebook is for old people! – jaw dropping right? That folks is how quickly technology changes.

With that said, digital citizenship is really an important part of our lives. Mer works in medical technology and since I blog and have an online presence albeit a very small one, we’re very cautious about what we put out there with regards to our little girl because ultimately we both feel like posting photos of her isn’t our right. She has no agency in this situation and until she can make those decisions for herself we’re just not comfortable with sharing photos that are any more revealing than the one above. That photo is probably the closest to seeing a full frontal as it’ll get.

I’m just not comfortable with sharing more than that folks and I hope you understand.  I’m just a believer that she’s entitled to a certain level of personal privacy and that as her mum it is my job to protect her privacy until she’s able to tell me “mom I want to be on the blog”. That day may or may not come and I’m cool with that.

So there you have it. The internet can be a beautiful place where you can share ideas and interact with awesome people who have so many brilliant things to share but it can also be a scary place especially when there are children involved and for the time being we’re opting to keep our little off of it as much as possible.

Where do you stand on sharing kiddo pictures? I’m interested to hear different opinions!

 

Save

Follow:

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when I was 22. The diagnosis came after a months worth of painful physical symptoms led me to believe I was dying. I was hospitalized, given the once over and released with a prescription for a sedative and a referral to see my family doc to discuss next steps.

99problems

I was then medicated with Cipralex – an anti-obsessional and anti-depressant that really helped ease my painful physical symptoms and helped calm my over active brain. The next 10 years or so I went un-medicated party because I now knew what was wrong with me (I don’t suffer from depression, I suffer from anxiety) and I could coax myself ever so gently out of my “episodes” because I knew that physical pain was often the result of my anxiety and over active imagination. Meditation was also extremely helpful when it got really bad.

By my early 30s Mer and I were actively trying to have a baby.  I haven’t discussed it much here (yet) but our first pregnancy was a surprise and ended in the stillbirth of our twin daughters. After our loss, I found myself in therapy because my anxiety was horrible and I was grieving a pain that I never thought imaginable. I suppose my grief manifested itself physically (my anxiety has a huge physical presence) and through weekly sessions with a grief counselor I was able to get a handle on it. We were also undergoing fertility testing and seeing specialists so my focus was really on getting answers and coming up with a plan to bring a baby home so there wasn’t much time to focus on myself.

The next 3.5 years sucked. I had loss after loss and surgery after surgery to make my body healthy and safe to carry a baby. Again, my anxiety was controlled because the focus on bringing home a baby was so intense I had no time to worry about myself.

Did I mention that my anxiety is focused entirely on me? That would help clarify things wouldn’t it? My anxiety is 100% health anxiety. I do believe that I suffer from hypochondria but my doctor would prefer to label me with GAD. I worry about health related things almost exclusively. The majority of the time my anxiety is selfish because I worry about myself but from time to time I share the love and become obsessed with other people’s (namely my mother and Mer’s) issues.

In June 2016, I found a new doctor. My anxiety was so awful that I was a nightmare to live with. I didn’t feel well (I get physical symptoms like I told you), I had a baby to look after and all I could do was worry about myself. I was angry.  I knew that it was anxiety but the pain was just so awful that I couldn’t focus on anything else. Then, when the pain didn’t go away I’d get more anxious and then the downward spiral would just continue.

Back to my new doctor. She was amazing. She took my history and gave me that horrified look that most people do when I explained how hard it was to bring Margs home safely –  she then proceeded to tell me that despite my history, my anxiety is most likely genetic (both mama and papa suffered in silence) and that I likely started to exhibit symptoms when I was 8 years old. A light bulb went off and I realized just how long I’d been living with this problem. As a kid, I’d loose sleep over things that most kids would shrug off. I worried about adult problems despite coming from a fairly stable home. As I got older my anxieties changed (they’re always sort of changing I guess) but the anxiety was always there. It was a pretty regular part of my daily life and I’d become so accustomed to it I just assumed it was normal.

So, I’m medicated again at my doctors suggestion. I’m back on the cipralex in addition to clonozapam if/when it gets really bad. Anxiety is a monster and parenting a young kid when you’re so wrapped up in your own out of control thoughts is so incredibly hard.

The thing about anxiety is that you’re not living in the moment. Sure, you’re there physically to live the moment but you’re brain is so busy conjuring up scary thoughts and ideas that you can’t just live the moment and actually enjoy it. Anxiety makes enjoying the little things in life hard. It makes slowing down and being present nearly impossible. It makes enjoying your kid difficult because you’re so focused on yourself that the best you can do is get through the day without actually stopping for a moment and be grateful that you were given that day to enjoy.

Some days are better than others which is to be expected. I doubt I’ll ever truly be anxiety free but today I’m far more aware of what’s going on around me and able to slow down enough to stop and enjoy it.

Parenting through (with) anxiety is tough. Harder than I thought really. It’s an uphill battle and I make a conscious effort to live more in the now and enjoy the simple pleasures in life even when my brain is racing a million miles a minute.

Anxious Mamas, how do you cope?

Follow: