My Story (Right Now)

The following is what I read in the Listen To Your Mother: KC show last weekend.

It’s become an out of body experience, like my brain and body are at odds with each other….my brain is telling me it’s no big deal, I can pick up the toy, while my body is throwing it across the room. I know it’s my broken brain that’s making the decisions for my body, but there’s a part of it that’s also saying “Greta. What. Are. You. Doing.”

My days usually start out well… I wake up and am able to get the kids ready for school, even keeping my cool while the minutes drag on and my daughter’s breakfast is still sitting on her plate. While they’re in school, I’m good. I can get stuff done, even if all I really want to do is take a nap.

But man. The evenings. The evenings are HARD. The evenings are when every little thing has built on the other, like a towering, pile of stuffed animals after the kids  have “cleaned” their rooms. One night not long ago, I was at the place in my head where that tiny little stuffed bunny was the LAST THING the tower could handle and everything was about to come crashing down. The dishes were piling up, one of the kids was staring into space instead of writing in her journal, the leftovers from supper were still on the counter and I lost it. I threw the dirty pan across the room,went to bed at 6:30 and didn’t talk to my family until the next morning.

And weekends! If it’s Saturday afternoon and I say “I’m going upstairs”, that’s code for “I need time away from you people. I need a couple of hours. If I don’t get them, I’m not certain all six of us will see Monday.”

My depression started after I had my second baby almost nine years ago, and has been on and off since then.

Things blew up around the holidays. I had stopped taking my antidepressants a few months earlier when they literally made my skin erupt into gigantic cystic acne. GAH. What 35 year old woman who’s been teetering on the edge of insecurity since she was a teen, has time for that nonsense? There are just some side effects that you can’t accept, you know? And my moods were pretty stable (of course, because I was on antidepressants). But the stress of the upcoming holiday season started to wear on me, and saying I started not being able to be the mom I wanted, NEEDED to be is a huge understatement. By the time December came around, I had zero patience for my kids or my husband, and was regularly blowing up in what can only be called adult temper tantrums. I could feel the anger (that was completely uncalled for most of the time, by the way) taking over my head space more days than not.

I knew something had to give. My life was not going to get any less stressful, my to-do list was most definitely not getting any shorter. Things were only going to get worse if I didn’t get the help I needed. I found a counselor and started regular therapy sessions, and that counselor persuaded me to talk to someone about getting back on antidepressants. A different one, of course, and that made me nervous. But several weeks later, I’m HANDLING THINGS. I’m functioning. I still have bad days when my patience well is nearing empty and my fuse is very short, but for the most part, I can take this mothering business in stride.

It’s not easy to talk about, but I know now that, as a mother and wife and caretaker of a family of six, I need help. I’ve always known that I needed support from my close friends and family, but I’ve come to realize that I also need the kind of help that comes in a bottle. And you know what? That’s okay. I’m not super mom, and I don’t know anybody who is, all things told. It’s hard for us moms to ask for help or even admit that we need it, but the best thing we can do for ourselves and our families is recognize that we can’t do it alone and we don’t have to.

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My Brain is a Scary, Crowded Place

In just under two weeks (12 days but who’s counting), our Kansas City area cast of Listen To Your Mother will be taking the stage at Liberty Hall.

To say that it’s a roller coaster of emotions for me is maybe a bit of an understatement.

It feels a little like having a baby….we’ve been working on it for many months….preparing for it, thinking about it, talking about it, thinking about it. There are so many things that go into the backstage stuff that you don’t think about unless you are in the position to get it all done. Like, nobody tells you that when you’re pregnant, your ankles will swell so much that you can’t put your shoes on. Or maybe they do, but you give them a empathetic look and go on about your business with your cute little size 7 sneakers on.

But anyway, our sweet little kicking all night and won’t let us sleep for all the things to think and worry about baby is about to be born. I wish I could convey just exactly how much of a HUGE DEAL it is for me. Not only because we’ve worked so hard to put it all together for the very first time and I wrote something that, to me, is really pretty scary to think about saying out loud, but also because we put this cast together out of some really, really, REALLY amazing contenders and I want people to hear their stories. A lot of people. Because they need to be heard. and I know there are people that need to hear them.

So anyway. I’m not the kind of person that will just come right out and tell people how I feel very often. It’s so much easier to write it out and then have a mini panic attack when I send it out into the world. BUT. If you are in the area and can make it to the show on May 1st, just know that it means so much more to me than I could ever express. Please come meet our baby in the hospital.

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Here We Go, 2016.

I have some goals for 2016, and while some of them aren’t earth-shattering, work every day towards them or it won’t happen goals, I always think it helps me to write them down. One, for accountability…I don’t like letting people down (though obviously I do, sometimes), and two, so I can look back on them later and see how I’m doing (or how I did).

So, here they are (in no particular order).

1. Put on a kick-ass Listen To Your Mother show on May 1, and enjoy the whole process rather than focusing on the stress. Then, if the stars align, hopefully be working on the 2017 show by the end of the year?

2. Finish the Turbo Fire workout program. I’m on day 3, and have done it before (for several weeks, though not the full twelve). I want to do this for several reasons….related to #1, I’m going to be on stage for some portion of the LTYM show, and I want to have killer arms when that happens (I am human, after all). I also love the energy and strength it gives me. While I am happy with my size in general, I’d love to be more toned again. For the rest of the year, I want to maintain that, rather than slip back down to the less strong, less energized version of myself that’s too easy to return to.

3. Eat better. More commitment to my Isagenix nutrition, and more whole foods. Not to lose weight, but to have the fuel to do #2, and to both nourish AND satisfy my body. I tend to gravitate more towards the satisfy part and eat too many sweets and junk, and I want to get away from that.

4. Read 70 books. I used Goodreads to keep track of my reading challenge last year, which was to read 50 books, and I ended up reading 76. Reading makes me happy, so I’m going to continue making it a priority for myself.

5. Do four fundraisers this year through Thirty-One. I love my “job” and look forward to my online parties, but I also want to be able to give back. I started my first fundraiser this week, raising money for cancer comfort packages, and my goal with that one is to be able to fill and give 20 comfort packs. I’m at five right now, so if you’re looking to give back a little, it’s only 20 bucks. Or, if you have an idea for another fundraiser this year, I’m all ears.

6. Spend as much time with my little dude as I can before he goes off to kindergarten. We have the mornings together, and have had at least half of most days together since he was born. But in a few short months, he’ll be heading off to school all day, every day. We don’t do much, but we hang out and since his threes are over (that was bad), we have fun. I want to focus on that and not get as distracted as I sometimes do.

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7. With the big three, I want to spend more one on one time. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

8. Remember not to let my marriage be put on the backburner. It’s important, and should always be high on the priority list.

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9. Make decisions based on what’s best for my family. That includes what’s best for me, personally, my husband, my kids, and our family unit as a whole. Coming off of a very stressful end of 2015, I realize that it doesn’t have to be like that, but to avoid it, I have to let go of guilt, step away from drama, prioritize, and remember to practice self-care. Otherwise, my mental health will suffer (again) and that is NOT what’s best for the family.

10. Give myself grace. If one of these goals proves to contradict #9, I have to let it go. If I “fail”, I have to remember that it’s okay. There’s usually a second chance or a different path, or even a dead end and a chance to turn around.

Doll Face Turns Four #ippp

Welcome to #iPPP! Sarah at The Sunday Spill and I want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favorite phone photos of the week. All you need is a blog post containing at least one photo from any phone camera. Link up below! (But, Sarah is smack-dab in the middle of moving her family AGAIN, and will not be joining us this week. If you like her page on Facebook, go send some non-stressful vibes to her. She’ll be back soon!)

This little lady turned four on Monday. It’s a big deal to wake up so grown up, even if your big sister says you don’t look any bigger.

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We celebrated both girls on Sunday, at a bounce house, and had entirely too much fun.

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On Monday, a cupcake was had with eggs for breakfast.

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And then gluten free pizza for lunch after swimming lessons.

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On Tuesday, Doll Face asked if she was still the birthday girl. No darlin’, but you’re still four.

In other news…you’ve probably already seen this, but if not, my Listen To Your Mother video is up and viewable. Thanks to The Medicine Abuse Project for sponsoring the videos this year!

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Guesting, Guessing, and Listening. EEP!

I just have a couple of things to let you guys know about, so this’ll be quick. (I’m deep into the first week of the #Iheartomron Omron Fitness Running Challenge, and today was pretty killer. I’m EXHAUSTED, so as soon as I’m done with this? Straight. To. Bed.

First of all, I’ve got a guest post over at New2Two today, about trying to balance it all when life starts to feel out of control. Any advice or commiserating would be greatly appreciated. Come see me over there!

Second, do you remember that audition that I went on last week? The one for the Listen To Your Mother Show in KC, Mother’s Day weekend? Well……..I got in!! I’m going to be one of the mothers reading that night. YAY! I would LOVE to see some friendly faces in the audience (because you guys, I’m going to be TERRIFIED), so if you’re local and would like to come for what promises to be a very memorable night, you can get advance tickets for only $12. Pretty please?

And last but not least, have you tried to Guess The Kindergartners yet? You have until TOMORROW (Friday), and entries are low, so you have a great chance of winning a $300 Amazon gift card or one of two $80 Amazon gift cards. Want a hint? I know I’m one of the harder ones to guess, so here you go: I was VERY serious when I was five, and I had similar hair. So, go! You have nothing to lose and I promise that it’ll be fun!