Posted in Anxiety, Depression, happiness, Meditation, nature, sad, school, Uncategorized, wtf

This Was Not the Plan – Corona Blues -SheProclaims.com

This was not the plan for these daffodils this Spring. They were placed in the ground last fall, with care, in a landscaped area near the porch. The plan for these flowers was to come up from the gloomy ground once the snow melted away to bring happiness to the corner of our yard while we waited for the rest of Spring to arrive. 

Now imagine their surprise, and mine, when they sprouted in the middle of the backyard this week. These flowers are nowhere near where they were planted. Their Spring plans are very much off track thanks to a mischievous squirrel. 

My first reaction was to pull them out of the ground when the first buds started peeking over the grass. I was annoyed to find my planning and work messed up for no reason. Then, life started changing quickly as we moved to working from home, home schooling, online church, and changing all the Spring plans we had for ourselves. This was not the plan we had in place for our Spring. Taking care of renegade daffodils slipped from my mind. 

Until today when I sat down for a moment of quiet in this strange homebound chaos and spotted the daffodils. In the wrong spot, nowhere near where they were supposed to be, there they were. Standing tall among the grass and leaves with their bright yellow petals spread for the world. 

Among the chaos and broken plans they still bring joy. 

Last week was been hard at our house. Everyone was acutely aware we should have been preparing for a Spring Break trip to Florida instead of preparing for which puzzle we would be doing next. School buildings were closed for the rest of the year, worrying us all with how we’ll adapt to a new virtual classroom life. Many tears were shed. A lot of them from me (I am FREAKING OUT!).

Close quarters now feel smaller, patience is wearing thin, and arguments are popping up with more frequency than before. It seems like one of us is angry every waking moment of the day. I can’t help but wonder, what are we doing wrong? Why are we suddenly falling apart and suffering?

I finally found the real reason for the range of our moods. We aren’t turning on each other or actually falling apart. It is much simpler than that.

We are grieving. You are too.

We are grieving the loss of our structure and routine. Coming to terms with losing our school plans and vacation fun. We are all shedding the hope and excitement of the Spring Break we booked last fall. All of our plans are gone and nothing looks how it “should”. Nothing is how it is supposed to be. None of this is right. This was not the plan.

We are not the only ones. I’m sure you feel it too. The daffodils get it.

They remind us that plans change. Sometimes we end up where we don’t belong. We may end up where we do not want to be with no way to change the situation. No matter how long or well we plan, sometimes things are out of our control. All we can do is keep moving forward, growing where we are, and bringing whatever joy we can to the world.

We can still be beautiful and grow new places. Even if everything isn’t how we planned.

Just like the daffodils.

Posted in Anxiety, books, Christian, coffee, Depression, God, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, nature, parenting, selfcare

When you look at me, I know what you see.

When you look at me, I know what you see. Your face and words say it all clearly: “you’re so fun! So crazy. So funny/strong/smart/organized/put together!”

Go ahead. Scroll my Facebook page. I’ve got all the “required” pics. Smiley, happy, spouse selfie? Check. Happy, well behaved kids displaying equal parts good behavior and precocious curiosity? Check. Yummy meals? Successful workouts? Got ’em.
Home based business? Got it. Great job? Sharing those company posts often! Pets? Theo the cat almost needs her own page. Don’t forget the amazing cakes, birthday parties, vacations, pretty house, DIY projects, make up looks, and amazing weight loss goals – I’ve got all that too!
What don’t you see? I am currently on the highest dose of Prozac a woman can take. This hair? Shoutout to dry shampoo and Bobby pins for the win! Cereal for dinner is a weekly occurrence here. I loathe the days my daughter DOESN’T want hot lunch. I got two separate emails at work today pointing out the areas I’m failing at. If I had one wish in life, it would be to stay in bed. For at least a month.
I regularly Google and price vacations I could take by myself. Just for a break from my life (which I am actually very happy for – even though I struggle to really share that everyday). Then, I check my bank account and remmember I am not a Kardashian and have a budget that doesn’t allow for such things.
I am a mom living with chronic, clinical, depression. I am a full-time employee, friend, daughter, sister, church-going, school volunteering woman who struggles to get out of bed some days. And honestly? I’m sick of it.
Why is this something we hide? Why are we ashamed of this? Why aren’t there more resources? Why do we spend so much time feeling alone and hiding our truth – when its so much more common than we could ever guess?
According to a 2016 study published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 16 million American adults (roughly 7% of our population for you number junkies) had a depressive episode within the past year.
That’s roughly 7 of every 100 people you know, struggling THIS YEAR ALONE. Look around your office, PTO meeting, church service, your gym, or merely on your Facebook feed.
Can you spot them?
Can you see their calls for help?
Or do they master blending into society while craving help so loudly on the inside that their needs and thoughts are all they hear?
I’ll give you a moment to take inventory. Though, if we know each other in real life or through social media, I bet you pegged me wrong. To quote a favorite show from my youth: “You think you know, but you have no idea.”
My alarm sounds at 5am. Why? Because I know that I feel better if I get up with time to myself, a cup of coffee, time with God, and time for my yoga practice. However, most days I just hit snooze for about an hour and a half.
I would love to tell you that every day starts with a nice warm shower for me, but most days it’s layers of make up and dry shampoo that get me looking presentable for the day.
I wake up my kids and devote every bit of energy that I have for the next hour and a half to making sure they are ready, have everything they need, and know just how much I love them before I drive them to school each morning.
I go to work each morning to a job that I have wanted for nearly a decade and finally managed to get. Then, I think about how badly I wish I were a stay-at-home mom. I propose selling everything and living in a cabin in the woods to my husband at least once a week. No joke.
Outlook reminders, to-do lists, and calendars are my secret weapons to presenting a very put together and organized front that manages to get 90% of my job done well each week. The other 10%? Well, it’s a mix of praying that I get good luck, my coworkers cover, or that the boss understands that I am seriously doing the best I can.
My lunch hours? They rotate between therapy sessions, volunteering at my kids’ schools, and running errands to keep our family aloat. There is no time and there are no resources for a mom to take a mental vacation. That is when things start getting real.
Why is there a stigma? Why are we expected to work like we do not have children and have children like we do not work? It is literally more than anyone should take on and a serious struggle for me, personally, on a regular basis. Why do we act like this is not a problem, not a national crisis, and not something we should be addressing as a society?
I know I have a good life. I know I am fortunate. I have amazing kids, a strong husband, a deep support system, and wonderful friends, but some days are still more than my heart can handle for no obvious reason.
I am tired of living in secrecy and shame. Those things which we cannot, will not, and do not name will continue to be our scariest demons until we stand up to them and say: no more.
I am done hiding from my truth. I am done with the “mom game”. I am done posting things portraying me as having everything figured out, when in reality I am one unscheduled softball practice away from everything falling apart.
We are absolutely all doing our best. I don’t care what your pinterest board says, you are just as messy as me. I am through hiding this any longer. I am coming clean to my kids, friends, and life that mom cannot do everything. And that’s OK. Life is a team sport. And we, as a family especially, are all in this together to make everything work.
I refuse to pass in legacy of burnout, over whelmed feelings, and inadequacies to my daughter. I also refuse to raise a son who thinks that women are invincible. That we can do all of the professional work, all of the children work, and all of the household work on our own.
There is no shame in needing a break. There is no shame in needing help. There is no shame in not being able or wanting to do it all.
My kids come first. Always. Whether or not the baseboards have been cleaned? Not even on my radar. Did I forget to work out this week? Well, my pants still fit so I don’t care. If our profit margins go down a percent or two over a month’s time? Nothing I’m going to lose sleep over. And yes, the Domino’s pizza app has saved our favorite order. That’s how I know everyone gets their favorite from time to time.
The ages of 25 to 44? Those are the most likely ages for any woman to experience depression. Smack dab in the middle of raisinsg kids. If that is you, like it is me, please know that you are not alone in this battle. We are in the trenches, mamas. Torn between raising babies, building amazing marriages, and forging successful long-lasting careers. No wonder we feel that we are falling short and find ourselves battling depressing thoughts.
But until we start being honest with each other and sharing our truths, this cycle will continue. Our daughters will be in the same spot that we are, which is exactly where our mothers were. But we have the opportunity today to be brave and stand up for what we need.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is the ultimate sign of strength. As Elizabeth Dehn said best ” You don’t have to do it all by yourself.”
So don’t. Don’t rob yourself or your family of the strongest version of you. Don’t hide the truest version of yourself to make sure everyone’s needs are met. You are more than accessory to everyone else’s life. You are a powerful being that deserves to be seen in all your mess and beauty.
Instead, remember that it takes an entire village to raise babies, grow families, and achieve a full life. Asking for help is nothing weak; if anything it is the ultimate sign of strength because you have looked deep within your self and seen what you can or cannot do on your own. That is where the real power of life lies.
I am a mom, wife, sister, friend, volunteer, and employee. I live with depression but it does not define me. I am calling it out, removing its power, and fighting to make sure future generations know that everyone has a struggle and that doesn’t make you weaker.
Please, love each other fiercely and completely. You never know what someone else is battling and how your kindness can help their fight.
If you need help, PLEASE contact one of these amazing groups:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression
http://www.ifred.org/

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
1-800-826-3632
http://www.dbsalliance.org/

National Institute of Mental Health
866-615-6464
www.nimh.nih.gov

American Psychiatric Association
703-907-7300
www.psychiatry.org/

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
240-485-1001
www.adaa.org

Posted in birthday, longreads, motherhood, nature, wtf

Birthdays are weird.

This week was my birthday. For those who dont know, I don’t get older. I just go up a level each year, because being level 39 sounds way cooler than being 39 years old. So, the other day I went up another level and I’m stronger, wiser, and tougher that before. Badass.
What is it about my birthday though that makes my children lose their minds and insane things happen? Its like the universe finds it comical every time I manage to make one more trip around the sun. Every. Freaking. Year.
This year, we needed to celebrate early since my actual birthday day was crammed full of taking kids to school and events. So a few days before the big day my kids whined that they didn’t want to go to the store to buy a gift and card (they may be totally addicted to Amazon which may be my fault but we talk about that another time). I tried to help Matt out by reminding the kids about all the hard work I do for their birthdays each year in the form of parties and cakes, not to mention the fact that I sacrificed my bikini modeling career to give birth to both of them, and the fact that if they celebrate my birthday they get ice cream too. I’m not sure which guilt trip or bribe did it, but they finally got it done before we went out for my birthday dinner.
Let’s talk about birthday dinner as a mom for a minute: if I have learned one thing in all the previous levels, its that I want to go some place where I know my children will definitely find something to eat that they love. Or like. Or at least will nibble on before we bring it home to enjoy as lunch the next day. So I chose my favorite restaurant to go to with my kids so they will not drive me crazy during the meal. Level 39 me was crushing it.
We made it through the meal with only one little ruffle about straws (what kind of waitress brings one kid a bendy straw and one kid a normal one?!). Also, don’t start on me about straws and the turtles. I live with an 8 year old girl, I know all about it, I just wanted a nice level 39 meal so straws were a must. The rest was great. All in all, a win.
My actual birthday consisted of running all over, going to softball game, then going out for ice cream before coming home. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and binge Madmen. (Yes, I am aware that the show has been off the air for ages and I am insanely behind on the times, however I have no patience and zero chill so I prefer to wait for shows to run their entire course and ignore them until they are placed on a streaming service where I do not have to wait for annoying things like cliffhangers.)
Just as I was about to finish my second episode and roll over to go to sleep I heard our teenager yell from downstairs. I am totally a dedicated mom, but in that moment I was also an exhausted mom so instead of getting up and walking downstairs – I texted him:
Me: “Don’t yell, your sister is asleep. What’s up?”
Teen: “There is a bird in the fireplace.”
Me, now yelling and running full speed from the bedroom: “NOBODY MOVE!!!”
This is where Matt clearly gets me and why our marriage works. He didn’t ask for an explanation or really flinch at my outburst and sudden flight. He calmly paused the show (I seriously love him) and followed me downstairs where we were in fact greeted by a bird flapping around inside of our fireplace among the ashes.

Me: “Oh my gosh. What do we do? Someone has to grab it. But not me. Do we even OWN thick leather gloves for this stuff?!”
Matt: “Will open a window and to get a way to get it out.”
Me: “Let’s catch him in a pillow case!”
Matt: “You think you’re that accurate?”
Me: “In a sheet!”
Matt: “You will throw ash all over the house.”
Teen: “Is it hurt? Can we keep it?!”
Me: “NO. Get the sheet.”

My plan was nothing short of a play right out of Wile E. Coyote’s playbook. We would hold the sheet up over the open fire place, the bird would fly into it, and we would quickly wrap it around him then throw it out the window. This is completely doable for two regular grown ups (one of which may have been afraid of rabies at that moment). Right? It sounded good in my head.
As it turns out, this bird was a super genius. Now, I realize that at first glance the fact that the bird fell down the chimney and was trapped with people staring at him would lead you to believe otherwise, but as soon as we held up a sheet in front of the fireplace and opened the sliding doors he froze. He may not have known what a chimney was but he definitely knew a hunter green sheet with paint stains was not the sky and he should not go that way.
We finally agreed to try Matt’s plan (and by we, I mean me). We closed the room door, opened the windows, removed the screens, slid the the fireplace screen open, then moved the sheet so he could see the window.
That’s all it took for our visitor, he was probaly traumatized by the giants waving paint sheets at him, so he soared out of the fireplace, through the room, and followed the fading sunlight to his freedom!
We then seized this teachable moment to show our son how fireplaces work and why you need to close the flue when done. You’re welcome, future daughter-in-law, for teaching your future husband how to care for your home.
You owe me a birthday cake.