Living with Bipolar Disorder

I started this blog with the hope to give some encouragement and support to other moms. I wanted to show people that they weren’t alone and most moms do feel the way they do. This time I want to speak about something a little different. It is something I have gone back and forth about even writing. As much as I hate to say it is something I have become ashamed of.

I have bipolar disorder type I. Before reading further, if you have bipolar disorder of any kind, (there are multiple types) you have no reason to be ashamed. I am only sharing my own thoughts and feelings about myself.

If you know me, you might not believe that I have bipolar disorder simply because you do not know me, truly. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone reading this. If you don’t believe it that is okay, too. I’ve always known I have some kind of mood disorder since I was a teen. My mood has always been all over the place. So when I was diagnosed officially a couple months ago it came as no surprise to me.

The first manic episode I can remember is my second year into my marriage. I don’t want to go too much into details because while I’m trying to be open, it is embarrassing behavior. I cheated on my husband, and I did so quite often. I would get the impulse and I would just go ahead and do it. I engaged in very risky sexual behavior for more than two years. Some people might just say that I was being a slut. Maybe, I was. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but the euphoric feeling I got while I was doing it was why I kept on doing it.

As you all know who have kept up with my blog posts or know me, you know I am now divorced. Since my separation from my husband I have done a lot of impulse buying from a result of mania. Many people may just see it as a shopping addiction, which it is in a way. I spend A LOT of money. I do not do this now, but for a while I was late on my rent every single month because I was using my rent money to buy things. I didn’t care if I became homeless, even with my son at home with me and a daughter on the way. All I cared about was spending money. It got to the point where I eventually got a warning that if I didn’t pay my rent on time I would be evicted. I knew my parents would be pissed so I stopped doing that.

This past month I have been manic. I started this blog. I had a lot of racing thoughts which is why I was able to write a lot of posts at first. When I had a thought I would just write it down. I hyper-focused on the blog it was all I cared about. I also spent a shit ton of money. I opened a credit card that had a $3,000 limit on it. I spent $1,700 on it in one weekend. The next week I spent $1,500. I overreacted and now I owe $3,200 on that credit card.

I can go from feeling on top of the world, high as a kite, (because of the bipolar, no drugs involved) to wanting to commit suicide in .5 seconds. There is no in between for me. When I am depressed I don’t shower. I don’t change my clothes and I don’t brush my hair or teeth. I do still get the kids dressed and changed. They are taken care of, it is just me I don’t care about. I am easily irritated. I don’t ever know what is going to set me off. One wrong word is all it takes for me to be irritated.

Sometimes I think I am fine. Who wouldn’t want to feel euphoric all of the time? Being depressed sucks in comparison. But that’s wrong. I stopped taking my medications because I was ashamed of who I am. I don’t need them I told myself. This last manic episode has been a huge wake up call to me. It’s not always good to have that euphoric feeling. I make really stupid decisions that effect me long term. It’s hard to stop though when I’m feeling that way. All I can think about is doing that one thing until I do it. It makes it so I can’t sleep, and it’s all I think about all day and all night. It is super exhausting to go from one mood to the next all of the time. It would be nice to just be somewhere in the middle.

Maybe this doesn’t sound like bipolar disorder to you. Maybe you think I’m just a slut with a huge shopping addiction. Before you judge me though, know that I already judge myself every single day. I hate myself. I hate who I am and I hate that I can’t control any of this. I know with work I will be able to. I know I need to take my medications regularly. I don’t need advice. I guess I just wanted whoever is feeling the same to know it’s okay. This is hard. It’s hard to accept and it’s hard to live with. I am in therapy and I am going to start doing the work. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t know if this made sense. Thank you though for reading. If you don’t see anymore posts from me, or don’t see any posts from a while, just know that I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read my stuff. It meant a lot to me to feel like what I had to say was important.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

“It’s okay to not be okay” my favorite clothing store recently released a hoodie with this saying on it. I’ve seen it before, but I think now it’s the first time I’ve I’ve really seen and thought about it. What does that mean? Do I agree with this statement? As a mother, or even as a human, I have never given myself the grace to let myself feel the feelings I am. I can tell you all the bad things my ex’s have drilled into my brain but to be honest with you I am just as hard on myself if not more so than they ever were.

Growing up my mother made it look so easy to have it together. I know now that that is just what mothers do. They act like they have their lives together even when they’re falling apart. They take care of everyone else even when they don’t have anything left of themselves to give. If they’re hurt they take care of your wounds first. If you’re crying they give you the tissue to wipe away your tears first. Moms can’t be falling apart, if they do who is going to mom??!!

But that is BULLSHIT. Even though you are a mom, you still deserve to have feelings. You are still going to have rough days, you are still going to cry, and you are still going to get depressed. Being a mom isn’t a bandaid. It isn’t the cure. Sometimes motherhood can even make these feelings worse. You’re stressed from being a mom. You wish someone would bring you soup when you are sick. You just want to scream and cry and throw yourself on the floor, but someone told you you’re an adult and you’re not allowed to have big feelings like that anymore.

I am constantly reminding myself that I am the adult now. When I am feeling whatever negative feeling I’m feeling I tell myself to push that way down. No one cares if you don’t want to get out of bed today. Shit needs to get done. The kids still need to be fed, changed, and dressed. The house needs to be cleaned. I need to work. Etc etc etc. It never ends and it is never enough.

If you are in this same boat with me today, I just want you to know it is okay to feel like this. It is okay to not be okay. We aren’t just moms, we are human. We deserve the same amount of grace that we give everyone else every single day. The kids still may need to be taken care of, so take care of them. Get them dressed, fed and changed. But don’t take that shower. Don’t change your clothes today. Put on some cartoons. Do one thing for yourself on that day you are not okay.

This all doesn’t need to just apply to moms either. Sometimes dads may feel this way. Or people who aren’t even parents. I think we are our own toughest critics and everyone deserves that opportunity to just take care of themselves and not worry about anyone else.

Dating after a toxic relationship

If you have been keeping up with my blog posts, or know me, then you know that I am divorced. My relationship with my husband was not a healthy one. He was very toxic, and it effected me in ways I wouldn’t know until I started dating again. I waited until I was separated for a year to really start dating again. I had flings here and there but nothing even worth mentioning. I don’t think it matters how long you decide to wait, it should be whenever you think you are ready. But I was ready at around the year mark.

Some people might be wondering how I knew I was ready.

1. I had done some work on myself. I knew what needed fixing and I started working on changing those things.

2. I no longer were looking at my kids as baggage. I’ve had a few single mom friends who have started dating again. Something I’ve talked about with almost all of them is, how is another man going to love me with (insert # of kids)? Your kids are not baggage. They are amazing and worthy of loving. Any guy you date will see that as well. If they don’t they aren’t the guy for you.

3. I wasn’t just wanting someone to comfort me at night. I wanted someone with me all the time. At breakfast. At my children’s meltdowns. Shopping for groceries. Diaper changes. Movie nights. Dinner. Trips to the park. Trips to the mall. Holiday activities. Depression. Sadness, and my happy times too.

Dating apps are a nightmare! You either get the guy who thinks he’s the shit and sends you a picture of his junk right off the bat, you can also get the guy who thinks he is shit, has been working at McDonald’s his whole life and has no motivation to do anything with his life. Or my favorite, the guy who seems perfect and is everything you wanted but ghosts you after meeting or texting for a while. I can tell you that I’ve talked to all three guys and none of those options are good ones.

It’s easy to get discouraged after running into these three guys. Most of my friends have. Maybe I should just stop trying there is no one out there for me. I remember thinking that often. Dating just didn’t seem worth the hassle anymore.

After a couple months on dating sites I was ready to give up. An advertisement for “hinge” appeared in my Facebook news feed. I have seen it several times before, but had ignored it. This time I thought why the heck not? What did I really have to lose at this point? Absolutely nothing. I downloaded it and started talking to this guy Alan. We hit it off right away. We scheduled our first date after a week of texting. I hadn’t been on a first date since my ex husband so it was super scary. My mom and friends kept trying to remind me that even if this didn’t work out at least I got away from the kids for a bit. Which was true. Who cares how the date goes if it means a break? The date went great though. He texted me immediately after to let me know what a great time we had and we even scheduled a second date for the following week.

Six months later here we are. I’m still dating Alan. He loves my kids just as much as he loves me. He changes diapers, he gets up with the kids at night, he buys them anything they need. He scratches the parts I can’t itch. He rubs my feet tells me he loves me. He cooks me dinner and paints pumpkins with us even if he does think it’s silly. He communicates with me. If I look in another guys direction he doesn’t get mad at me. If I leave the house he isn’t blowing up my phone asking where I am. I’m allowed to spend my money how I please. I can talk to my mom without getting attitude. I can hang out with my friends. I can have friends!

A lot of this stuff is things that are standard. I want you to know that I know this, and I want you to know this in case you don’t. Alan isn’t doing anything special. He’s not the perfect guy. He just does what he is supposed to be doing. He does what all of you reading this deserve. A man should be doing all of the stuff I mentioned. If he isn’t then he isn’t someone you should be wasting your time on.

I think it’s hard to not jump into the first relationship that presents itself. But dont unless it’s the right one for you. Dont date someone just because you don’t think someone else is out there willing to put up with you. Don’t date someone just because he’s the first guy who went on a third date with you. Don’t settle. That is how you got back here in the first place. You are worthy. You deserve the world. If you are not ready for dating that is fine too. Don’t rush yourself you will get there. But if you are, hold out for someone good.

I love me I hate me

Like a lot of people, something I have always struggled with is self confidence. I remember being in fifth grade. Other kids in my grade would make fun of my friend Hannah and I saying we were the fattest girls in the grade. I don’t remember if we were or not, but I remember the sting of those words.

Seventh grade

In seventh grade I frequently had problems with this boy. Austin. He often would pick on me. Maybe he was joking around, maybe he wasn’t. But I remember two instances specifically. One day I was sitting at my desk. Austin comes over and starts poking at my arm fat and told me I have, “lunch lady arms” (meaning they were flabby and fat) to this day I am still extremely self conscious about my arm fat. Another instance I remember Austin telling me he would rather kill himself than have someone like me like him. I didn’t like Austin romantically, but it still really hurt my feelings. I couldn’t be that bad.

In high school I remember the many many clothes shopping trips with my mom. I know we both hated them. I would try on dozens of clothes, and hated most of them. Every time would end in tears thinking about how fat and ugly I was.

Depression hit me hard in tenth grade. I really hated myself. I no longer wanted to be a part of this world anymore. I was ugly, I was fat, my father didn’t want me. Nothing was ever going to get better. I skipped school, I skipped classes. I passed the tenth grade by the skin of my teeth. That year I also gained 50 lbs.

The internal battle I was having with myself has continued past high school and college. It got worse after I became a mother. My body had changed in ways I would never think. Even though I didn’t gain much weight with Noah I still had tons of stretch marks left over. My breasts were never all that perky, but now they looked like they were trying to reach the floor. My hips were wider. My face was fatter. I now had two chins instead of one. Two months after having Noah I visited my grandmother who asked me when I was planning to lose the baby weight, mind you I had dropped 30lbs. It was even worse after having Evren. Not only did I not drop the weight after having her but now my stomach sagged too. I still have my pregnancy belly, only it is deflated with no baby.

Noah was only a month or two old here
Evren is only a few weeks old here. I remember feeling so crappy about myself here.

Something my therapist said to me recently has made me open my eyes a bit. She said, “fat doesn’t mean ugly.” I have kind of always known this. I look at other fat girls out in public and long to look as beautiful as they do. I realize now that they have something I do not. Confidence. They know they’re fat, but they also know they are beautiful. Your body weight does not determine how ugly or beautiful you are. Only you can determine that. I have two kids who are looking up to me. I need to start feeling better about myself. If my daughter or son came to me saying they felt the same way I do right now my heart would be broken. My kids deserve to have a mom who loves herself.

I am worthy. I am fat. I am beautiful. I am a good friend, and a good mother. I am funny and kind. I am selfless and caring. I am me. I deserve happiness. I deserve to love myself.

I would love to hear from you. Do you struggle with self confidence? Did you at one point? How did you overcome it? How do you hope to overcome it?

I am fat. I am beautiful.

Having a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD)

I remember when I was little my mom enrolled my sister and I into a ballet class. I was super excited to finally be able to be like the beautiful ballerinas I seen on tv. I loved ballet class, my sister though? Not so much. I remember my sister screaming before every ballet class. The tags were bothering her, and the tights were too tight. At the time I just thought she was being over dramatic, now I know and recognize this as sensory processing disorder.

Sensory processing disorder a condition where the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses

Noah was a clingy baby (and is a clingy toddler). Every time I put him down he would scream. I would let him cry occasionally, but he would scream for hours if I had let him. I couldn’t do anything without Noah. I couldn’t eat, sleep, shower, do chores, or even get dressed. Noah wanted me to hold him for all of that. Eventually I got a boba wrap which helped us a lot. I was able to carry him on me and still get things done. When I wanted to take a shower I would leave part of it open so he could still see me. This was just the beginning signs of sensory processing disorder for my son.

Around six months Noah was ready to start purées. At first he liked them all, but as time went on he stopped eating all but three flavors. Sweet potatoes, pears, and bananas. He would spit out anything that wasn’t those three things. Eventually Noah was ready to start solid foods. Again, he started out eating most of what I offered him and then he stopped. At first he would eat macaroni&cheese and applesauce. Sometimes I would get lucky and he would eat the applesauces with veggies blended in. One day he decided he was done with applesauce and only would eat macaroni and cheese. I had mentioned something to his pediatrician, who said he’s a toddler as long as he’s eating he is fine. His weight was a bit of a concern because he’s so skinny, but they were satisfied because he was following his own growth curve. I knew something else was going on though, and so did my mother who had also dealt with this before.

Noah loved bath time as a baby. He would splash around and play with his toys. Bath time was fun! When I was feeling nice I would even put bubbles in the tub and he would play with those for hours if I had let him. One day Noah started screaming during bath time though. I thought it was just a fluke, maybe he was in a bad mood that day. But it continued. Bath time became miserable. He would scream every time water touched his skin. If it touched his hair? Prepare for a World War III.

Often times on my day off or after work I take the kids to the park. Noah has always loved playing on the playground, and if other kids are there? Even better! One day I decided to take Noah on the swings. He screamed. I pushed him to show him that this was okay and it was fun. It wasn’t fun to Noah though. He screamed even harder. As a baby he hated them too, but I had thought maybe he was just too young for the swings. It was obvious now there was more to it than that. As I said before Noah loved playing with other kids on the playground. If there were too many kids though he would freeze up. He wouldn’t move from the spot he was standing. One time it took me an hour to coax him down from the top of the slide. I would’ve gotten him but I had his sister with us. It would’ve been too hard to climb up there with her.

Noah has always loved to chew things. When they’re babies you just assume it’s because they’re babies. When Noah was roughly 2 he had a wooden toy that he chewed in half. I thought this was alarming. Eventually he started chewing everything. My bathroom door (as shown). Books, puzzles, toys, dressers, blocks, anything you think should or shouldn’t be chewed my son has chewed it.

It took me forever to get Noah to accept a sippy cup. He loved the bottle nipple. My stepdad found a sippy cup with a spout similar to that of a bottle nipple. Thankfully he took to that. Unfortunately, that is the ONLY sippy cup Noah will take. He won’t take the ones with cute Characters or cool colors. He won’t even take other sippy cups with nipples like a bottle. It has to be the thinkbaby sippy cup.

We have been in occupational therapy for a few months now. Noah has shown some huge improvements. He can now take a bath without screaming. He will now at least try new foods. However, he still chews on things and still will only take that one sippy cup. Yesterday I accidentally broke his sippy cup. Noah was up screaming all night because he didn’t want a drink in a different sippy cup. Even a soft spout one.

The reason I mostly wanted to write this, is to let you moms know. If you think something is off about your child, something probably is. Having a child with a sensory processing disorder is HARD. I have to think before I do anything. Is this going to overstimulate him? Is this going to be too loud? Will this upset him? I get overwhelmed and touched out very quickly because Noah still wants to be touching me at all times. If your child has SPD you are not alone, and I see you.

6 things I wish I had known before having baby #2

Either you are pregnant with your second child, are planning on having a second child, or you have a second child and can relate to this. Today I am going to talk about what I wish I had known before I had my second child.

*disclaimer, this will not apply to everyone these are just my thoughts and experiences* *most of these are only relevant to younger kids*

1. The messes become messier- you must be thinking, duh. With two kids you probably would expect things to be messier. There’s two of them. Let me explain though.

•When you’re potty training your toddler and he has an accident on the floor, your second child will see a cool puddle and start to play in it! My advice for this: quickly remove baby and then tend to the toddler who just peed all over himself.

•When you have both kids eating in their high chairs one of them will always reach over to the other ones tray and start making a mess of the food. my advice: separate the high chairs!

•when you give the toddler a snack in the side by side double stroller more than likely their younger sibling will want some as well. They will grab the snack from your toddler and the snack will spill all over the floor. My advice: give toddler the snack out of the stroller.

2. The cries become louder. Yup. As expected. There’s not just one crying kid, there are two. They both cry at the same time. If one starts you can bet $5 they other will follow suit. If you don’t know what stress is you will after this happens. My advice: let them cry. Leave the room.

3. You can’t compare your youngest to your oldest. But you will anyways. You’ll remember everything that your oldest was doing at this time and wonder why your youngest isn’t doing it. My advice: every baby & child grows at their own rate and does things on their own timeline. They don’t care about keeping up with their sibling, neither should you.

4. There will be no quick trips ANYWHERE. Never again will you just go in for a candy bar at the gas station. Now you have TWO kids to get out of the car. You have to put both kids in the car, take them out, and then put them in, only to take them back out again!! How exhausting!!

5. Your heart will make room for two children. I have mentioned in a previous post the anxieties that can come from having a second child. One of those worries I had was am I going to love this second child as much as I did the first? Absolutely. Your heart will grow. My advice: relax. Breathe. Know that it’s okay to have this worry because you absolutely are not alone.

6. Your kids will love each other. BUT they will also fight. It will depend on how they’re feeling at the second. One minute they will be fighting over the cocomelon toy, and the next they will be hugging. My advice: watch them closely. Don’t leave them alone together. Encourage older sibling to help in the care of the younger one.

If you had your second child already I’d love to hear things you wish you had known or what you have figured out along the way! If you’re expecting I would be happy to listen to some of your worries.

The Apartment

Writing my post last night about new beginnings has me thinking a lot about where I was to where I am now. It feels like everything and nothing happened between now and then. Posted above are some pictures from the first apartment I’ve ever lived in alone.

There are only five pictures, and two of those pictures are from the same room. It is only a studio, but it might as well have been a castle to me. I had never lived alone before. This was scary. I had enough room for all of our stuff though. The apartment made my mother and I get creative with spaces.

I sat my work computer up in a corner. It sat on two cardboard boxes. In front of it I sat my moms llama lawn chair that she graciously let me borrow. Mind you, I was also pregnant so this chair hurt my back, (although it probably would’ve regardless). Often times I would be on call with a customer and you would hear my son running and screeching in the background. If you looked at him you would see him with a broom in one hand and his diaper in the other.

Thankfully, his diaper was still on in this one.

Shortly after moving into this apartment I decided I needed to find a job that was based in the state I was living in. I got a job a few weeks later working for another company whom I’ve almost been with for a year now on November 9th. This job started out in the office, so my son had to go to a babysitters house. Eventually though my pregnancy was too much on me and I was able to work from home. Ive now been working from home for nine months. My son is here with me and so is my daughter. How I do it…I don’t know! I’m losing my mind send help!! Anyways, long story short I enjoy the job I’m at now. Ive met some good people and it allows me to stay home with my beautiful children while still making money.

If you saw the apartment now, you wouldn’t believe it was the same one in the pictures above. Just like myself, the apartment too did some changing. It now has pictures of my kids and I on the walls. I have wall stickers. I have a memory bunny made out of my daughters hospital blanket on a shelf. My bed has a duvet on it now that I bought. Most of the stuff I entered in this apartment with my parents bought for me. Now, there are just as many things that I’ve bought in here that my parents have bought, if not more.

The bunny mentioned above. On its foot it has her DOB and weight/inches

It looks like a home. My son has done a lot of growing up here. He started occupational and speech therapy in this home. He’s talked sentences to me in this home. He has rubbed my back while I had my head in the toilet (morning sickness). He has cuddled up in bed with me watching Disney movies way past our bed time. He has went up a diaper size, started potty training, went up a clothing size, and has become a big brother in this home.

Staying up too late, watching too many movies
This was our first night home. He surprised me by giving her a kiss!

I have done some changing in this home too, though. I became a mother again. I learned that if you spend your rent money on Amazon the rent money just doesn’t magically reappear again. I have learned how to be alone, and to be okay with that. I have enjoyed the time with just my son and I. The few months where it was just us were priceless. Then when his sister came I have enjoyed the times where it has just been us three. I have put myself in therapy. I made doctor appointments I have been putting off. I have prayed. I have cried, and screamed. I went into labor in this home! I have learned how to set boundaries and communicate (still a work in progress). I have formed a relationship with the man who is everything I’ve ever wanted and plus some. This apartment was born into a home, and I was born into me.

Today!
Had to share a picture of her too!

New Beginnings

*trigger warning mentions of suicide and depression*

Divorce-the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.

Divorce. It is a word we are brought up to hate. It’s an ugly word. An admittance of failure, a failed marriage that is. Lately I have been thinking a lot about divorce and reflecting a lot on my life. On the 18th of October of this year I got the phone call. The phone call that everyone waits for after an unhappy marriage, “the judge signed off on your divorce, it is final. Congratulations.” Party ensues in my head. I message my friend Ashley and invite her out for a celebratory dinner. It’s on me tonight, girl!

It wasn’t always a party though. It was tears, and sad songs. It was going to work even though all I wanted to do was lay on the floor. It was screaming, and fighting. It was admitting to myself that I fucked up. I knew for a long time that I needed to leave my (ex) husband. In fact, shortly after I married him, (and even probably a little before) I knew I shouldn’t have.

Red flags waved in the air. I saw them, I looked at them, and I even waved back. “Hello, red flags! I see you! I see you, but I just don’t care! I don’t want to be alone!” I put up with a lot of shit that I should not have. I won’t talk shit about him though, because that isn’t fair when he is not here to defend himself.

I knew long before I asked for our separation that divorce was necessary. I wanted a divorce shortly after my son Noah was born. I had bad postpartum depression. I cried at the drop of a hat. I wanted to kill myself. I fully believed that my son would be better off without me as a mother for him. The way he was brought into the world made me question what kind of person I actually was frequently, which I think had a lot to do with me feeling like he would be better off without me. I was living in a constant state of guilt. Anyways, I told myself it would get better. I just had a baby, my hormones were all over the place. Give it time. Divorce is not the answer.

Noah and I a day after I gave birth to him

So time is what I gave it. I talked to my doctor about my postpartum depression and got medication for it. Within a few months I was feeling better. I was still very overwhelmed with motherhood, but I no longer wanted to throw myself off the nearest bridge. I still wanted that divorce, though. My (ex) husband had became more of a burden to me. He was a weight on my back that I could not throw off. I eventually started looking at our finances to see if I could afford to live without my husband. I could, just barely, but enough to leave.

A couple months later I asked for the separation, and as I said in the beginning we are now divorced. It has been a long and hard road. Some people may think that divorce is the easy way out. It’s for quitters. failures. Etc, etc, etc. I promise you though, it isn’t. It took me a while to get to that point. I did a lot of wrong things in my marriage, but I also did a lot of right.

This past year and a half I have done a lot of self reflection. I look back and think about what I could have done differently and what I did wrong. Honestly though, I think I could have done everything differently and still had the same outcome. We did try to fix our relationship a couple of times, it didn’t work out any of those times. Which is okay. That might not be the right move for everyone, but it gave me the closure I needed. I no longer needed to feel guilty for not sticking it out and making it work. I tried, I tried, and I tried again.

I feel like my ex and I just were not compatible enough to have a romantic relationship. Ultimately at the end of the day I do not like him as a romantic partner and even though he has said otherwise, there’s no way he could’ve liked me romantically when I am exactly like my mother whom he hates. I don’t wish him any harm. I only hope the best for him. I know there’s a girl out there who’s perfect for him, it just wasn’t me. I also know that there’s a guy out there who is perfect for me because I am with that man currently.

Going back to the beginning though, divorce has been the biggest blessing on my life. I have learned so much. I have grown so much. Divorce has given me a new life. I am in part II of this story and I am excited to see where it takes me, good or bad.

*for those who are struggling with depression whether it be postpartum or not, and you feel like giving up text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. Crisis text hotline*

*also check out To write love on her arms they have tons of other numbers that may be helpful, including hotlines for child abuse and domestic violence*

The Guilt of Self Care

As a mom we are always putting everyone else first, especially our children.

If you ask a mom why this is 9/10 times I hear, “I just don’t have the time. I’m always busy taking care of the kids, I get them up (or my friends with young children say they wake me up), I feed them breakfast, get ready for the day, play with them, do some learning, then it’s lunch time, nap time. By the time it’s nap time the house is destroyed so I need to clean it. So I spend nap time cleaning and when they wake up it’s pretty much a repeat of the morning.”

Something I always like to tell my friends is, “we make time for the things that are important to us.” But getting the kids taken care of is important isn’t it? Of course. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of you too. It’s important to take care of you. Not just because your kids deserve a mom who is not stressed out all the time, but because YOU as a person are important, you matter, and you deserve not to be stressed.

When I became a mom for the first time I believed I had to do everything. If someone offered help I would immediately say no, even if all I wanted to do was say yes. Why? Because I felt guilty. I didn’t believe that I should need help. I’m a mom now, I’m supposed to do everything. Something I’ve taken note of from my own mother who loved to do everything herself and not accept help from anyone.

I had bad postpartum depression. I wanted to run away. I wanted to cry every second of everyday. This little boy deserves better than me I thought. A lot of people reassured me though that it was okay to accept help and to take care of me. Many of these people were people who did not accept help or practice self care either. How can I listen to advice that no one else was following? Now having two kids though, I’ve learned to accept that help. I’ve learned that it is necessary to practice self care, even if it’s something small like watching “The Office” instead of “cocomelon”.

I have included a picture above that has some small things that take 5 minutes. So no, “I don’t have any time” excuses! To anyone reading this, I challenge you this. Do ONE thing this week for YOU. Even if it’s something small. Make sure to leave me a comment with what you did I’d love to hear! I will include some things I like to do below for myself to give you some ideas.

Things I do to practice self care:

1. Read a book, even if it’s just one chapter.

2. Go for a walk, sometimes I do this with the kids. Even though they’re with me, it’s still nice to get the fresh air.

3. Watch a show or movie I want to watch

4. Listen to music

5. Go to the mall. I often go with my friend Ashley and we bring both our kids. But they sit in the strollers and it’s nice to get out of the house.

6.take a shower-with the door closed. No kids.

7. Go to target- I love to aimlessly wander the aisles.

8. Get my favorite coffee from Starbucks

9. Order my favorite food

10. Take a nap. The kids are sleeping. The dirty house can wait

The Anxieties of Having a Second Child

I’ve always wanted to have more than one kid. After Noah turned one it was extremely rough for me. I loved the toddler that he was turning into, but I also missed the little baby he used to be. He needed me a little bit less. He was way too big for any of the clothes that fit him just a few months prior. He started walking, getting teeth, eating solid foods, and exploring the world on his own.When Noah was 13 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified. Mostly of my mom and stepdads response because I knew they weren’t fans of the kids dad. To add some chaos to my life a couple weeks later I ended up leaving their dad, packing everything I could fit in my tiny Ford Focus and made the move from New York where I had spent my entire life, to Virginia where my parents are. My pregnancy was rough, and not just because of the endless morning sickness and SPD. I was worried. Worried that I wouldn’t love her like I love Noah. Worried that she wouldn’t fit into our family. What if she didn’t sleep good either? What if it was too overwhelming with two kids? What would I do? I didn’t feel a connection with evren my whole pregnancy. As sad as it is to say. I ignored her presence as much as you can being pregnant. I wasn’t excited. I dreaded her being born. Friends and family who had multiple children assured me I would be fine. But I wasn’t sure. I was convinced that I would be one of the only moms who didn’t love her second born.
Eventually though I went into labor. It wasn’t very long, roughly 6 hours from beginning to end. I was super out of it when she was born, but when the nurse placed her on my chest I instantly fell in love. They soon after had to whisk her away because she had stopped breathing. Time stopped. I held my breath. I started to feel terrible about all the feelings I had during pregnancy. Maybe this was my fault. What if she dies? By the grace of God and the nurses who worked diligently she started breathing again and she was handed back to me.

I looked at her sweet face, and everything everyone else said to me during my pregnancy came true. She wasn’t a burden on my relationship that I had with my son. She helped it grow. I appreciated every moment with them both a little more. She made my family feel complete. She filled a hole in my heart that I never knew I had. I was right about one thing though. I did not love her like I loved my son. I loved her in a different way, but not in a bad way. I loved her for being her. She has a completely different personality than my son does. Noah was up multiple times a night and still is. Evren sleeps through the night. Noah is clingy, sweet, and cautious. Evren is adventurous, loud, and fiercely independent. Two different people, but both loved immensely.
So don’t worry, mama. It’ll be okay. Your first born may be jealous. You may feel guilty for not spending as much time with them. But it will be okay. You will get through this. You will adapt just how you did when you were scared to have your first. That didn’t turn out as bad as you thought or you wouldn’t be having your second! Take some deep breaths. Enjoy the second pregnancy. Spend as much time alone with your first born as you want. When your second born is here make sure you include your oldest in caring for their sibling. It helps them grow a bond and it makes your oldest feel helpful.Get a group of mom friends if you haven’t already. Lean on them. Ask for help when you need it. You don’t need to do this alone. Even single moms, ask for help from family. If you don’t have family ask from friends. It’s okay to do that. Accept help when it’s offered. Mostly importantly, enjoy those two beautiful children!