Mental Health Mondays: When I Knew I’d Found My Village

Mental Health

For some, having a “tribe” or “village” comes easy. Some have been friends since they were in elementary school. Other’s slide right into a group and easily connect with them. I’m not one of those people. Feeling alone can be quite hard on your Mental Health. I know, I’ve been there.

Prior to having kids, I always said I didn’t need a big group of friends, and as long as I had a couple good friends, I was good. Then, when I had the oldest, things changed. I needed to be a part of a mom group, to go to play dates, and drink coffee while our kids played nearby.

I tried to befriend a few, each time I felt I was either chasing them away, or being judged by members within. It was a sad time. I was in the midst of Postpartum Depression, and pretending to be “okay” for those around me when inside I was dying.

There have been a couple of moms within a particular group who didn’t boot me off their Facebook pages right away, and occasionally I’d chat with them, or comment on something, but I was scared.

I remember exactly how it started this last time. Over a post I shared on Facebook that became quite the battle on my profile. It was through that post I reconnected with one of them. ¬†We set up a play date for our kids. Then we began getting together more and more with them. Add in a few other moms on down the road, and there you have it, my “village”

Within the last 10 months or so, these ladies and another couple who hang out occasionally with us have become my “village”. I have watched them look out for my kids. We have had conversations about all sorts of topics. We have laughed and had a great time & also panicked together when searching for a missing kid.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party for a couple of the kids, and that is when it hit me. Being in a place by myself with 2 very different children is hard. I can’t always keep my eye on both. Watching these other moms and dads, I began to truly feel at ease as they kept an eye on and even HELPED my children.

I didn’t feel judged as though I was a bad mom. I wasn’t stressed as if I had to keep my eye on them both every single second. They managed to have an amazing time, and I did as well.

That night as I replayed the events of the day in my head, it really sunk in… I FOUND my village. I found the people who care about my family. The ones who don’t judge and instead hold their hand out to help. It felt surreal and at the same time it felt very real, and I’m very thankful I didn’t continue in hiding and give up on ever finding them.

So, here it is, don’t give up and just keep trying, just keep going. There is a “tribe” or “village” for everyone, you just have to find it ūüôā

Do you have a “village”???

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Thankful Thursday: Birthdays, Painting, and Everything In Between

The previous week in review and what we're thankful for

Welcome to the first “Thankful Thursday” on the blog. I have been trying hard not to copy people unless I’m actually following a series, however this is needed. This is kinda my “behind the scenes” post for you all, as well as my accountability to be Thankful.

So, let’s get started. The last week in June was crazy busy for us. We had a Birthday, 2 Dr appointments, and I started Physical Therapy. Busy is my jam. I know some people don’t get it, but if I am busy¬†doing rather than¬†thinking, it’s much better for all involved.

The first thing I’m thankful for is friends. We seem to be the definition of Murphey’s Law in this house. If it get’s “planned” it will fall through. If we are working at “planning” it, it won’t happen. I am very thankful for friends who understand. It’s not easy to be on the properly followed through end of a plan that someone else can’t uphold. The Oldest get’s so upset about it when plans get cancelled, and I get it (because I do too). So it takes special people to stick with other people who are constantly changing or canceling plans. I am Thankful for those friendships.

We went bowling on The Oldest’s Birthday, and the kids had a great time. It has definitely been a needed get together, and I am super happy things worked out for this one. I learned a bit about The Oldest, as she became more and more independent as she learned what she was doing. The time ended in her being able to be told it was her turn, and she’d get her ball and take it up there and roll it all on her own. She’s growing up way to fast *sigh*

Moving right along, I am thankful for those in the medical profession. You can learn so much when you ask questions to those whom care for you in various ways. We learned The Youngest does NOT have allergies to any of the major allergies factors. We also learned The Oldest needs glasses. I learned that there are true reasons why I’m having ankle and hip problems, and I am in good hands with getting back on track.

Last but not least, I am thankful for fun. We have been trying to implement some different activities into our routines, and those have been a lot of fun. The girls are in a reading challenge and challenged to read (or more to the point be read to) 500 minutes over the month of July. It is challenging for them to focus for any amount of time, but we have been breaking it up into about 3-4 books spread out throughout the day. I’m enjoying it, and so are they.

We also did Firework paintings over the holiday weekend. I used bendy straws (real technical term there, I know, haha!!!) and tapes them to form a firework stamp. The girls stamped the fireworks one day, then we let it dry. The next day we added people and other fireworks with markers. It was a lot of fun, and something the girls still talk about almost a week later.

So, there you have it, our first Thankful Thursday is in the books. What are YOU Thankful for this week???

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Just an Update. Life is CRAZY.

An Update on our crazy life.

This is one of those, posts I’ve been avoiding for a while now. It’s not necessarily a “bad” post, just a tiring post. It’s the kind of post that is usually interesting to read (I love reading updates on the blogger friends I follow) but, to write it, to format the swirl of words that swish around in my head, well, it’s daunting to say the least.

So it’s been a while since we have talked about¬†real life, and I feel like there is so much going on. I’m going to be all over the place, since instead of going in chronological order, I’m just going to finish out each of our stories 1 at a time.

“But Dad”

“But Dad” has had some stuff going on health wise. We have been dealing with High blood pressure, and now he will be starting Physical Therapy for pain he has been living with most if not all of his adult life. We are also getting a sleep study done to confirm his sleep apnea and get his very own C-Pap machine. He jokes about how he hadn’t seen a doctor since he was in school (for ADD meds) and now he finally sees one and is immediately loaded up with pills and 3 other doctors. Moral of that story Take Care of Yourself While You Are Young

We also had a bout which included an ambulance ride, the Emergency Room, His family doctor and then Urgent Care. We started out thinking it was a broken rib or his gallbladder, they ruled those out, called it Pleurisy and sent him on his way. We had a follow up with the family doctor where things were looking good, only to relapse and then find out through Urgent Care that he actually has pneumonia. It’s been a crazy 3 weeks or so for us dealing with all of this. (I’ll be making a post about the importance of having emergency info ready sometime later this month).

“The Oldest”

I’m not exactly sure if I have mentioned this before, however, we have started the oldest in feeding therapy. This is interesting, and particularly rough for me at times, as it goes against a lot of how I was raised. We are noticing some improvements though, so I’ll take it, and deal with my inability to handle change on my own time, not hers.

We have also been looking into some behavior therapy options. If I’m completely honest, the older she gets, the harder I find it to justify her actions and reactions. We are starting some new parenting techniques and I will be posting about those soon as well. All in all she is doing well in preschool, and proving to be an extremely smart little girl. I’m proud of how far she has come, and am looking forward to the days we can get the emotional and social stuff figured out.

“The Youngest”

Our youngest is doing extremely well in speech therapy and she is blossoming into a little girl with a great spirit. She is picking up on emotions and empathy so quickly, and just like a sponge absorbs everything going on around her. She loves her “Tsum tsums” and is wanting to learn ballet.

She will be starting preschool in September. I’m excited and a little sad, our baby isn’t really a baby anymore (even though she will ALWAYS be my baby). I’m excited to watch her unfold into this little person with a big heart and even bigger emotions. I’m proud of her for continuing to grow and blossom even in the midst of all the attention being on her sister.

Then, there’s ME:

So, I think any moms out there know, when so much stuff is going on, we tend to forget about ourselves and get wrapped up in making sure everyone has what they need, when they need it. We have 2 weekly therapy sessions (1 for each child), 2 monthly parent teaching session (again 1 for each child), Preschool 3 days a week, and now “But Dad” will be in physical therapy twice a week for at least 6 weeks if not longer.

Some days I feel as if my head won’t stop spinning. It is CRAZY, and while I love my family and would do anything for them, I have days I just want to be left alone. After much thought and dealing with some really painful emotions, I have decided that I am going to start going back to counseling, and possibly back on meds if I can find meds that regulate me the right way.

It’s so hard, living with Bipolar for years and never knowing it, over the top emotions are what I am used to. I am finding it very difficult to give up feeling those strong emotions, however, I realize it really is what is best under our current circumstances.

So, now that THAT is out of the way, on to happier thoughts. I’m preparing to send in some posts to some big name sites *Stay tuned for the results on that* I am also still working on putting together a book of stories from people who either have, or deal with family that have mental illnesses and children with developmental delays.

All in all, it is safe to say that life is crazy, and mixed up, and at times even downright over whelming, but, we’re still here, still doing what we do, and bringing you all the ideas as to how we manage with so much craziness.

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Top 5 Tuesdays: Parents Are Brave

Top 5 Tuesdays winter

Welcome to a late edition of Top 5 Tuesdays. ¬†As part of the #Wordadaychallenge ¬†put on by Phyllis at Verified Mom¬†I am bringing you my Top 5 ways Parents are BRAVE. Bravery is the word, and while I could totally have taken this in a much more serious tone, after much thought, I love this interpretation. ¬†So… Here We Goooo!!!

  1. We Take Our Kids Out In Public.¬†Some kids are better behaved than others, and sometimes it’s not a HUGE deal, but if you have ever been flying solo with more than one child, or have the child that doesn’t listen or throws tantrums in public… Yeah, that’s bravery for sure.
  2. We Make Plans on a Timeframe.¬† This is my number 1 for sure. ¬†“Plans” terrify me. ¬†There are so many variables in the day, and having to get past all of that and still make it “on time” or even just some version of “on time” THAT is brave!!!
  3. We Withstand The Judgement of Other Mothers. ¬†I hate to bring it up, but, the mommy wars has a place in my Top 5 reasons Mommies and Daddies are Brave. ¬†It can be down right terrifying to talk to ANYONE. ¬†Everyone has their own way of doing things, and THAT is awesome, it’s when people get pushy on why their way is the “only” way that feelings get hurt. ¬†The fact that it happens so much, makes it worthy of a top 5 spot.
  4. We Have To Confront Our Own Fears… A Lot.¬†Sure, you don’t have to be a parent to confront your fears, however when a fear of yours intersects with the life of a young life you are responsible for, you usually learn to (at least partially) face your fears. ¬†I can’t tell you how many spiders I have had to kill when I was the only one up with my kids… I HATE spiders!!! Bravery at it’s finest there.
  5. Most of us Live on the Verge of Insanity EVERY DAY. Yes, I have a preschooler and a toddler. My life is sometimes like banging my head into a brick wall… repeatedly. ¬†We love our kids, but some (most) days, they can drive us to the brink of insanity. ¬†I had to end this on a funny note, but also a very real one, being a parent can be SCARY

These are my Top 5 Ways Mommies and Daddies are BRAVE.  What do YOU think makes parents BRAVE???

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Top 5 Tuesdays: Getting Ahead With Meal Planning

Top 5 Tuesdays winter

It happens quite often in many households around the country, that dinner hour gets closer and panic spreads over parents everywhere as they quickly head to the nearest Drive-thru or find the number for the nearest delivery service. ¬†I have fallen prey to this situation as well, and it is expensive and you really don’t get very good nutrition in a kids meal (although you DO get kids who refuse to eat the meals you actually make at home since they know they will be getting a meal from a drive thru again soon… I write from experience on THAT one)

I have been working hard on getting our lives “back on track” and along with that comes eating healthier meals, at home. ¬†Here are my top 5 tips for getting the most out of Meal Planning.

  1. Start with a clean slate.¬† Go through the refrigerator. freezer, and cabinets throw away any food past it’s date, and make note of the things you need to use up soon. ¬†I am starting to make Mondays the day I clean out the fridge and freezer and make my meal plan based on what I need to use up. ¬†I also make it a point NOT to buy things I may not be able to eat (we buy frozen veggies since most of the time fresh ones end up going bad in this house… hey veggies are veggies, right???).
  2. Have a master list.  I have a list of my families favorite meals.  This is a starting point for my meal planning.  I have approximately 14 dinners (maybe even a few more) 7-10 lunch ideas, and we have about 5 breakfast options per week we cycle through.  Having the list means you can just pick the meals you decide and buy those ingredients and then you have what you need for a weeks worth of meals.
  3. Plan your meals according to your week.¬†I know that Mondays are usually very busy for our family, those are days I plan for either a crock-pot meal, or a meal I can pull together in less than 20 minutes. I know that even when I have “good food” in the house, if I have to “cook” something for an hour or more and it’s getting closer to dinner-time, I’m already panicking and ready to dish out the peanut butter and chips (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that, we have that as a regular lunch option, however, I always feel like I’m slacking when I had a meal planned and I resort to PB&J and chips). ¬†I make my plan to also alter the main protein (chicken, beef, pork, beef, chicken…) this keeps us from getting to bored.
  4. Keep your grocery list with you. ¬†Keep your list in the car or on your phone. ¬†Go by what is ON the list, and don’t forget to add in snacks (and dessert if your family has it). ¬†By staying with what is on the list, you don’t give yourself to many MORE options which can make the plan go off track (I have done crackers and summer sausage and cheese 1 or 2 days one week since it was on sale and our family loves it, however, because of that we wasted food we were suppose to eat in it’s place. ¬†By sticking to a plan you keep things like that from happening.) Also keeping the list with you ensures that you won’t forget the list if you get a chance to pop by the store unexpectedly.
  5. Meal Prep.¬†This is one I am still working on. ¬†In a perfect world, I would go shopping the day before “Prep Day” and then work hard on making sure that all the meat and anything else I could get ahead on was cooked making dinners super easy. ¬†I have been trying to prep meat as soon as I get it, but with our crazy schedule, it just doesn’t always happen. ¬†Having a “Prep Day” saves you time later in the week and makes dinner seem less of a chore and more enjoyable.

So there you have it, my Top 5 Tips on Meal Planning.  Do You Meal Plan???

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Top 5 Tuesdays: Finding Time For Everything.

Top 5 Tuesdays winter

As moms, I think we naturally tend to try to schedule MORE into our day than we can physically handle. ¬†We have kids to tend to and teach, a house that needs cleaned, meals to make, places to be, things to do, OH and getting some “ME” time would be wonderful too. ¬†HOW do you find time for Everything???

While I don’t feel like I fit it ALL in, I do feel like I fit everything that is most important to me, IN. Here are some tips for helping you “fit it all in”:

  1. Take Inventory of Your Time. ¬†I think we are ALL guilty of this, “I’m done with the dishes, so I’m just going to check…” (insert social media site here). ¬†Then before you know it an hour has passed and you didn’t even realize it. ¬†Taking a day or 2 to really track what you are doing with your time can help you find pockets of time you can fill with more meaningful things.
  2. Make Use Of DownTime.¬†¬†I’m sure you have heard this before, but there are usually several times when we are “forced” to be “unproductive” . ¬†Waiting in line is a great example. Is there anything you need/want to get done that you could keep with you do to while you are “waiting” for something??? ¬†Doctor’s offices are notorious for LONG waits, I try to spend one on one time with my kids during the wait. ¬†We are there anyway, and watching a couple dinosaur videos with my oldest and then talking about them not only helps us forget about the waiting, but it serves to increase our bond.
  3. Assign Tasks to Different Days. It could be you feel like you are having trouble achieving balance on a daily basis. ¬†I had to learn that some days, just aren’t good to get everything in. ¬†Monday in our house is the busiest day right now because my oldest has preschool and then about 2 hours later, my youngest has speech therapy. ¬†I’ve tried EVERY configuration of “Making it work” and filling those couple hour spaces with productive action, but, it never fails, we are late, or one of the kids throws a fit I have to deal with. ¬†Mondays now are just Preschool, Therapy, and Needs. ¬†The morning is dedicated to getting the oldest ready for school, we come home and I’ll relax, clean up a bit from the morning craziness, and then before I know it, it’s time to go get my oldest. ¬†Afternoon consists of lunch, some quiet time, and therapy, then a late dinner and an early bedtime since my kids normally play through nap time (thus the reason I call it “Quiet Time”). ¬†I have tried to fit a trip to the store in there, or extra cleaning in there… it just doesn’t work. ¬†I have switched grocery day to Wednesday and Thursday (3 different stores) and then Tuesday is my house cleaning day since we only have Dr appointments that day as of right now. ¬†I get stuff DONE, but not a little bit every day, instead, I do things in big chunks on certain days. ¬†Saturdays are meal prep and family time, and Sunday I devote to catching up on blog stuff. ¬†It works, somehow.
  4. Delegate Some Responsibilities. Maybe it is making dinner 1 or 2 days a week, or cleaning a room, sweeping a floor, or cleaning the toilet. ¬†In our house “But Dad” cleans the toilet, the girls are responsible (to some extent) for keeping toys in their rooms. Occasionally “But Dad” will cook. ¬†As the girls get older sweeping the kitchen, cleaning their own table off, and wiping the bathtub out will be responsibilities given over to them. ¬†Every little bit helps. ¬†I never worry about the bathroom since I know “But Dad” has the toilet taken care of, and I can easily pull the shower curtain and wipe out the sink. ¬†Knowing that it is someone else’s responsibility (even if you have to remind them) ¬†eases the “I have to do everything” load and frees up time to get other stuff done.
  5. Know Your “Bottom Line”. ¬†I don’t think I (personally anyway) have ever seen THIS piece of advice given on any post, however knowing what your “bottom line” is, will help you get over what can’t get done. ¬†I write out my “To Do List” and that gives me a starting point. ¬†I have everything I’d LIKE to get accomplished on there. ¬†When craziness ensues and I get behind, I go to my list and do triage. ¬†What can be done tomorrow? What can I skip all together? ¬†Can someone else do some of this? I keep on the list what I KNOW can’t go (meals, appointments, etc) then I decide how much and what stuff will stay on the list. ¬†That night, I make the next days list off my circled items from that day. ¬†Things get done, and I can feel good knowing I have done what I could.

So there you have it, my Top 5 Tips for getting it “all” done. ¬†I’m learning to be more flexible and having these guidelines to go by helps me to realize it doesn’t all have to be done “at once” in order to all be done.

What are your tips for getting stuff done???

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