Posted in Anxiety, dads, healthy, kids, moms, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

What to tell your kids about Coronavirus

I don’t want to scare my kids but I want them to be prepared for changes they are going to see in the world around them right now. For my teen, it’s easy to have a pretty frank discussion about what is going on and what precautions to take without freaking out. 


For my 9 year old (who suffers from severe anxiety) its a little trickier. I know I’m not the only parent struggling with this. I’m by no means an expert or a doctor but if you’re wondering what to tell your kids about Coronavirus, here is what I told mine:


We are ok. We are healthy people with strong immune systems. If we catch it, it will feel like a very bad cold or the flu. For us, it will feel like normal winter sick crud. For some people who are old or very young, their bodies aren’t as strong as ours to fight this off as easily. For people who already have major sickness like cancer or lung problems, it will be harder for their bodies to fight it off too. Doctors are going to be very busy taking care of them. 

Our job, as the strong and healthy people, is to wash our hands and follow the directions from doctors.We need to slow down the spread so the doctors have time to help everyone who needs it. We’re basically super heroes right now. We will wash our hands often to kill the germs so they can’t spread to others. We will avoid large crowds so the germs can’t spread. 

Things will look different for awhile because we’re all chipping in to do this to protect the others. But we love everyone and want this to stop as soon as we can so its worth it. We can definitely be strong and kill these germs if we all just work together and take care of each other.


I think it’s decent advice for us all. Stop hoarding the toilet paper (seriously, someone fill me in on the thought process there in the comments), share the soap, follow the recommendations, be cool, and we’ll get through this together. 


Don’t forget your cape, superheroes.

Posted in happiness, moms, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Easy Giving Tuesday & #GiftItForward ideas

Easy Giving Tuesday & #GiftItForward ideas

Giving Tuesday & #GiftItForward ideas always flood me this time of year. I’m sitting in a black cape in the rear of the salon while I write this. I’d like to say no gray hairs have ever graced this head, but that would be a lie. In fact, with every passing year the battle to keep them at bay gets harder and harder.

Some day, I told myself, I’ll just color it all gray and be done with this act of vanity. But that day is not today. 

Today I’m watching the clock tick on, enjoying the view of an older gentleman in a bonnet under the dryer across from me, hoping I’ll get a glimpse of his new ‘do before I go.

I also think back to when the gray first showed up. When I was a single mom, working hard to barely keep us afloat, cursing the gray hairs while skillfully balancing my income with our bills. Grateful when I a few dollars left to occasionally mostly match my hair color to a box at Walgreens and wash away the gray for awhile. 

That Christmas, a friend had a gift card for a free coloring to a salon she didn’t go to. I’m not sure if it was the bags under my eyes, the obvious roots from a failed color match attempt, or the harsh gray hairs peeking through that tipped her off but she gifted that gift card to me.

She saw me. My struggle and my wants were acknowledged for the first time in a long time that day. I cried. I know there were other things we actually needed at home, but this was needed just as badly. This was needed for my soul. 

She was giving me far more than just a little pampering. 


I soaked in every moment at the salon that winter. That year I was becoming the solo mom, rock, warrior, and survivor. No regrets came from any of the hard things I was going through, but did miss the little treats I had taken for granted before.

I promised myself two things that day. First, someday all my colors would come from the salon and not the drug store. Secondly, when I got where I was going, I’d turn around to pass along kindness to someone else. 

Here I am, 13 years later, in my cape just like you can find me every 8 weeks. This time of year more that any it takes me back to the gift card and promises made.

“…freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8


I call it “Giving It Forward”. A way to take what I am have and bless others. To share my good fortune with them and bless them with a little kindness. 

My favorite way to do it this time of year is through gift cards. I receive quite a few each year. Some I’ll use, some I won’t. Many I will only use part of. They used to gather dust in a drawer in my kitchen until “giving it forward” hit me.

Giving Tuesday – #GiftItForward

I gave a gas card for station I am never nearby to a family preparing for a long drive to an important, possibly scary, appointment. I told I found it, I’m not in it for the glory. 

If you were behind me at Starbucks, you have likely received a discount on your drink from the gift card balance I left behind for you. 

To the lady at the Subway drive thru, I saw those kids bouncing in your backseat. I saw the look on your face. A day’s worth of tasks, appointments, worries, and responsibilities veiling your tired face. I hope the card I left behind put a dent in your bill and a smile on your face.

It’s that easy. Freely we receive gifts and freely we pass them on to those around us. It’s not Earth shattering work, there is no handing out of awards, but smiles will be given out. I think that makes it important work. This December, I’m inviting everyone to join me! Follow me on Instagram and tag @She.Proclaims with the #GiftItForward hashtag to see love spread! You can also donate your balances online to charity at Donate Your Card.

(P.S. I am not sure what the man did. He left before I could see him but my stylist and I agree it doesn’t really matter, that’s a man living his best life for himself. Rock on, sir.)

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, guest writer, happiness, longreads, motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I had no idea 2 years ago when I started diving deep into my Bible journaling and studying what the next 18 months had in store for me. Marriage struggles (we’re good now), financial problems (also good), parenting challenges (still doing our best), depression dive (I’m in my comeback!), deaths close to us, sickness around us, and struggles for people we love. I have been through hard times before but 2018 and 2019 may have been the hardest years on my heart to date.

I came across many verses which continue to help me when I struggle and I am still finding new ones all the time. Even new meanings in old ones as I read them again. However, in 2017 I found two in Colossians and Thessalonians which speak to my heart so strongly here in 2019 that I wanted to share them with you. Both are really great books to read this time of the year, in my opinion;  full of beauty, hope, thankfulness, and truth. A little like me. 

Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace and always be thankful.”

I look around the world, my state, my town, my office, my church, my family and I can find people I agree with fully. People who stand for what I do and stand up to what I do also. I love those people. They are easy to get along with, to be thankful for, and to work closely with. They fill my heart. 

I can also find plenty of people in each of these places I do not agree with at all. I find their stances to be unfair to many, hurtful, based in exclusion, omission, and rejection. Hearing them talk makes me want to cry for the world and apologize to my children. Sometimes, I actually do. I struggle to work with them and be thankful for their work in the world. They break my heart. 

There are also many people who walk the fine line between filling and breaking my heart. These are the people I love so dearly and support in so many ways, yet cannot understand how their heart sees the world’s issues how they are. I am roughly 50-75% thankful for these people at a glance, depending on if they are doing what I like or not in a given moment. They confuse my heart. 

Colossians 3:15 was an epic wake up call for me (also, if you really want to think about the body of Christ idea, check out this sermon from my church recently!). We are all different. We are not all the same parts, which can lead to some issues, but need to live in peace. We need to be thankful for the people around us. I do not agree on many things with a friend who spends a lot of time volunteering at a veteran’s hospital. He’s doing good, even all of his work isn’t what I want. People I wish would open their eyes to causes around the world volunteer at their churches to help the hungry. I’m thankful for that. 

We don’t have to agree to be thankful for one another. 

Thessalonians 5:18 “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 

How hard is this one? I stared at this one for a long time when I first came upon it. It’s hard to be grateful in hard times. I think its only human to see the bad at face value. It’s easy to get lost in the sadness, hopelessness, and darkness surrounding hard times. If you’re anything like me, the easy path is the preferred one whenever possible. Life is hard enough without volunteering yourself for more, right?

In this case, that couldn’t be more wrong. Being down, brings you down further. Letting the sadness get too far, lets the depression sneak in and take over. Losing sight of the goodness and being thankful makes life a long, miserable sentence. Even in the hard times, there is something good in each day. 

Every night for as long as I can remember, I ask my daughter at bedtime “What was something kind someone did for you? And what is something kid you did for someone?”. Some nights she’s got more than one answer for each question queued up for me. Some nights she bursts into tears and we need to talk a bit to come up with two answers together. Some days are better than others. 

The point of this verse and the point I’m trying to make to her is this: there is something good in every day. Sometimes we have to look harder than others, but it’s there. Find it. Don’t let the hard times or sad times win. 

There are so many more, I could go on, but go find them for yourself. This year? I’m thankful for you, for healing, for my family, my friends, my job, my health, my cat, and all the hard things I have been able to overcome. I’m ready for whatever is next.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted in kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting

Dear Teenage Son – I don’t know it all but I do know some.

Dear teenage son,

I am ridiculously excited to have a front row seat for the big, bold life you are creating and to be your guide for this part of your life. So excited, it’s freaking me out a little bit about how quickly you’re getting the hang of things on your own. You need me less these days. Which makes me proud and sad all at once. I still want to protect you and I can’t believe how big you’ve already grown; but don’t think for a minute you know everything. You’re not grown yet (even when you are, you still won’t know everything – trust me on that too).

You’re not the only one feeling a flurry of conflicting confusing feelings in your teenage years. They suck for you, I get that, middle school is literally the worst – anyone who claims otherwise as an adult has clearly blocked it all out. It’s really hard for the parents too, though. So hear me out and cut me some slack. I know I’m old and I don’t understand (just like grandma was old and didn’t understand me) but I really do know a thing a thing or two about where you are.

Let’s be honest: I really liked being your number one person when you were little. I was like a fabulous superhero mom. I still want to tell you the direction you should go, then swoop in to save you from any trouble I see. I want to warn you about friends or situations which could lead to heartbreak. I want to save you from the hard things but I know I can’t. As good as it might make me (or you) feel in the moment – it wouldn’t do either of us any good.

I know these things because I learned by living. I need to give you that chance too. Even if it sucks for us both. That doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Not all all. I saw the perfect saying the other day about it: There are three places you will always find me: in front of you guiding the way, behind you cheering you on, or by your side. I can’t think of a better way to put it.

I’m trying to lead the way for you. I want to show you right from wrong, that’s totally a requirement of this mom gig. I also want to show you its ok to stumble or make a mistake – just say you’re sorry and learn from it.

I want to show you that pure love exists. No matter where you go or what you do (even if I don’t agree), I will love you. The people willing to tell you the truth, even when it hurts, but still love you fully are the kind of people you need to cling to. Those are your people. I will always be that kind of person. 

I will always be behind you. I may not agree with all you do in life, but I am cheering for you. I hope it always turns out for the best. When everyone else walks away, even if I think we’re both crazy, I’ll back you up. I’ll cheer you on. I’ll be in your corner. I have seen you do amazing things, I know what you are capable of. If you’re all in, so am I. Tell me what you need me to do.  

And on those days when you are lost and don’t know what to do – I will be beside you. I may be just as scared and lost as you, but I will never leave you on your own. I make no promises I will know what to say to make you feel better (yeah, that’s right, I might be speechless). I may have no idea or suggestion to help with the situation, but I will not budge. Even if all I can do is listen, hug, and hold your hand – I will be there. Forever.

I will also hold you accountable for your actions or words. I will stand by consequences from other adults when you’ve goofed up with them. You will not always like what I have to say. There will be lectures, groundings, apologies, and arguments along the way. You’ll roll your eyes and hate me for an evening, but I am as ready as I’ll ever be for that. I love you more than life itself but that doesn’t mean this is the cakewalk portion of life (spoiler alert: I’m almost 40 and I’ve yet to find the cakewalk part; I’ll let you know if I do). I don’t plan on raising assholes and we’re bound to have the occasional growing pains getting there. I still love you though.

This is new territory for us both. I’m trying not to screw it all up but we already butt heads from time to time. I’m sure that will go on for years to come. I have never done this before as a parent, only as a kid. It’s a little confusing on this end of the spectrum too. I am doing my best, so cut me some slack if I get a little crazy trying to help, guide, or protect you.

It’s hard being your age and that’s coming from me (I have seen some shit, man). Navigating friends, teachers, parents, and all the other things in your life is crazy hard. I remember. I am doing my best to help you navigate and be by your side. Sometimes, it’s scary.  Then I remember this line from a book you and I shared long ago “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” 

Its like Dr. Seuss knew you were coming and wrote a cheer just for you. Or he knew how much I’d love you and wrote a reminder for me. Either way, he was right. You’re doing an amazing job and going in an exciting direction. You’re a good kid, becoming a good man. I am eternally grateful to be along for the ride – even on the days I have to control to get you back on track. 

I love you always, Mom

Posted in dads, kids, parenting

Bashing dads doesn’t make you a better mom.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts in my news feeds lately urging dads to help without being asked or pointing out what they should be doing to better support their wives. I get it, some guys may need a push (some moms do too). But, newsflash: some guys definitely don’t. 

Don’t lump them all into some sort of clueless, bumbling stereotype. 

Sure I have to get the kids up, ready, and out the door to their schools every morning; but it has nothing to do with him being clueless or unhelpful. He is already gone and well into his work day by that time.

He is up at 3am and out the door by 4am to get through his work day in time to pick up our kids from school. He could start later and let them walk or ride the bus home, they’re plenty capable, but we feel it’s important for a parent to be home after school. So he is, as an equal parent.

Years ago, our schedules were different and I was home with the kids before he got home. I could have dinner made, dishes done, and we could have a jumpstart on our evening family plans. When things flipped, he could have just waited for me to get home to keep doing what I’d done before. 

Only, this dad knew dishes needed to be done, dinner cooked, and evening activities gotten to. So he cooks, washes, and helps ferry kids to things. He wasn’t told to or even asked to; he’s a grown man for crying out loud. He’s a parent, he’s doing what needs to be done.

He doesn’t “babysit” our kids, he parents them. He doesn’t “help” me around the house, he does what needs to be done (honestly, more than me plenty of the time).

He cooks dinner. Like, COOKS it. Not just eggs, cereal, frozen pizza or take out. 

He mows the lawn, fixes anything broken, and takes out the trash. He has used his pocket knife to perfectly cut tiny pads for tiny ballet shoes in the dance studio waiting area to make his little girl’s feet feel better.

I know he’s not the only one. I see dads navigating the grocery store with kids in tow like professionals. I see them coaching soccer teams, attending tea parties, raising kids solo, reading stories, pulling sleds, shooting hoops, and showing their kids (and everyone else) how amazing dads are.

So before you click the next link shaming dads for not doing more or bashing their contributions, stop for just a moment and think about all those who do not. They deserve some recognition and praise also.

Well done, dads. For silly games, monster hugs, hair brushing, donut dates, training wheel removal, laundry folding, vacuum hauling (that thing is heavy), and all the ways you keep your families going.  

Thank you. You’re doing a great job.

Posted in Christian, God, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting, school, Uncategorized

The Best Back to School Bible Verses – SheProclaims.com

The best Back to School Bible Verses to get you through the start of the year! Whether you’re missing summer vacation already (that’s me!) or sighing with relief as the school bus pulls away – these verses are perfect reminders for you AND your kids to get through the days! By no means is it a complete list but here are the best back to school Bible verses I like to lean on!

Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Have a little faith, mommas. You’re raising great kids with great hearts. They know right from wrong. They will make make you proud. These lessons will carry on throughout their school days and lives. Keep up the good work

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

As long as there is school, kids will face hurdles. Bombing a test, not making the team, or being left out will hurt and leave them feeling discouraged. It’s hard on your momma heart to watch them struggle, but remember the growth they are going through (you too!).

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”

Don’t gossip or bully. Never let the world harden your heart or take you off track. Find your passion, find your goal, and chase after it. 

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Starting anything new, even if it’s something as routine as school, can be scary. So can navigating friends, hard classes, and the unavoidable struggles that come with the territory. Remind your kids they aren’t alone and they will be ok, even if they’re sitting solo on a bus or at a lunch table. Remind yourself also they will be ok even without you by their side. They aren’t alone.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Be a good person. Do good things. Be in control of yourself. 

Luke 6:31 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

Be the nice kid. Be the good you want to see. Easy peasy.

Proverbs 15:5  “A fool spurns a parent’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”

Parents are stupid. Mine were when I was a kid and now, it appears, I am equally as stupid to my kids some days. I think that’s just the way of the world in most cases. However, I wish I’d listened more – they did know what they were talking about – and I try to remind my kids daily I’ve been where they are and can save them some struggles if they listen to my words or wisdom (or stories of epic failure – just learn from me!).

Proverbs 22:6  “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

If you’re like me, the idea of sending your kids out into the world without you can be scary at times. I’m struggling extra with the middle school kid right now – that age is weird, this world is scary, and I just can’t even yet!!! I just remind myself they’re good people and will stick to that path we’ve started them on!

Colossians 3:20  “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

I know some of your classes are boring and the homework is stupid. Bedtime is lame and dinner is disgusting. I had all the same issues when I was your age going to school, so I totally get it. But have a little faith and trust me. I do it in your best interest just like grandma did it in mine. 

1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

Oh my sweet children. I see so much goodness in you. If more adults looked at the world through your eyes and with your heart, it would be a better place. Please don’t lose that and don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young or don’t know enough to make a difference. Keep living your awesome lives so you can show the world what is possible with kindness!

What are your Best Back to School Bible verses for your kids or your momma heart?

Posted in happiness, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting

To my eight year old daughter,

To my eight year old daughter,

I’m watching you swim in the pool surrounded by the summer sunshine for what feels like the thousandth time this year. Rainbow bathing suit, teal goggles, and sun-streaked blonde hair flowing wildly in the water.

Your twisted bathing suit straps look uncomfortable to wear, but you did it yourself. My offers to fix it have all been shrugged off; just another reminder that you’re growing up. Instead, you scurry up the ladder like a flash of freckles before splashing into the cool water.

This is the summer you could finally make it to the bottom of the deep end for the diving rings. It’s the summer you perfected your underwater handstand – sort of – but I clap every time your wobbly legs shoot into the air. This is the summer when all those swimming lessons came together and I don’t have to get in with you. I can relax poolside in my chair like the moms I was envious of just a few summers back. This is our first summer apart even though we’re together.

This is our first summer apart, even though we are together.

Your jumps are getting higher, your “tricks” more daring, but you stop to check the backs on your brand new unicorns earrings just often enough to remind me you are still my little girl. You look over and catch my eye before your next amazing stunt to make sure I see you. You want me present and watching every independent move you make. I can watch but not help. No, you remind me often you’re not a baby anymore.

Our conversations flow from talk of friends and Descendants movies to Paw Patrol and your nervous feelings about third grade. Some days, your never-ending chattering is almost more than I can handle. But today, among the splashing, laughter, and warm summer breeze I am taking it in. I’m trying to take you in. I want to keep this version of you in my heart forever.

I hope we can stay like this, you and me. Enjoying each other and our moments together. Sharing jokes, wishes, worries, and dreams while confiding in each other. I like being your rock. I like being home base. I love that you want me to see everything you do. You want me to be a part of all exciting things.

I also know, it won’t be this way forever. I know hard years are ahead for us. If they’re anything like my teen years, my heart will ache for relaxing afternoons like this one in the not-so-distant future. I’m trying to ready myself and remain realistic about how life goes for mothers and daughters. It won’t be anything be personal, its just how the teen years go.

Soon enough, you’ll want me in the house so your tricks can be shared with your friends. You look at me like I’m crazy when I hint about that possibility, but I’ve been where you are before. I love how pure your heart is. I love the bond we have created so far. I hope even when I’m not your number one person down the road, you’ll remember those feelings and let them help guide you back to me.

Remember you are always loved, even if it feels like the world is against you. You are strong and capable of taking care of yourself. I am cheering for you through wobbly handstands and difficult life choices. When you look over your shoulder at 12, 16, and 18 – I’ll be watching like I was when you were 8. I’ll be watching for whatever amazing things you do, even if they’re a little wobbly. I’ll be counting down the days until you settle into who you are and, hopefully, fall back into me a bit.

I hope you remember your bravery as you grow.

I hope you remember your bravery as you grow. I hope you take chances, share your heart with others, and feel comfortable to make mistakes because you know your mom is cheering you on. Your secrets, wishes, fears, and dreams are all safe with me. They always will be. Remember my love in your heart always.

I hope that someday, you’ll think back to the summer when you were eight with the warmest of memories and smile. We’re getting closer to the time when you won’t need me, or want me, around as much. I thought we’d have more time than this.

But for now, I’m taking in every freckle, giggle, and “mom look!” that I can. These days seem long but I already know the years are going too fast. I hope our days are creeping deep inside your heart whether you realize it or not. thank you for sharing your heart with me. I hope I’ve done the same for you.

Love, Mom

Posted in Christian, Depression, God, happiness, motherhood, parenting, prayer, Uncategorized

God Delights When Truth Reigns – find yours here!

“God delights when truth reigns in our inmost being.” – Psalm 51:6

Recognizing this truth in your life is freeing. I have been struggling with this for a long time, but now in my 40th year (still only 39 though!) I am starting to understand. .
Discover what makes your heart happy and do it. Do you feel you alone, not enough, or unfulfilled? I do. But its fading thanks to one simple realization:
Live a life you love.

Everyone is not your friend

You want to be accepted and loved – I get it. I do too, but sometimes, its just not possible and we need to accept that. We are not for everyone.
That’s ok.
Not everyone is for us.
That’s ok too.

There are over 7.53 billion on this planet, we would all need way bigger porches if all these people were all our people. Thank you God for not asking me to host that Thanksgiving meal – thinking of the menu is giving me hives.

Why do we try to make everyone “our people” even if it means changing who we are? It doesn’t make sense. Its a lie. Living a lie will never fill your heart. You will never find peace or happiness. God delights when truth reigns over our decisions.

You do you.

I know not all people like my writing – that’s ok. I mean, they’re crazy because I’m awesome, but its their loss, not mine. They roll their eyes, whisper remarks, and straight up talk crap – it happens. It used to cut me deep, still does sometimes, until I stopped worrying about them and focused on loving me.
Seek the things and dreams that make you happy.
Discern the voices that matter, discard those that don’t.
Reveal your heart and happiness to the world.
Diminish other’s control over your life by focusing on what feels true and honest to you.

Live your life loved and authentically for you. God delights when truth reigns in your life. No one else has the right to decide who you are.

Posted in Christian, coffee, Depression, God, kids, longreads, moms, motherhood, parenting

Stay Strong Sister.

Dear tired travel softball mom,

Stay strong sister. When we spread our blanket on the beach near you at the end of a difficult day, I had no idea how happy you would make me.

We were on the last day of a family vacation. A vacation where I told my kids over and over to stop. “Stop what?” they asked. All of it. I needed them to stop it all.

Stop poking, hitting, and shoving each other. Quit yelling in my ear while wwre driving in the van – its Mario Kart not the Indy 500. Stop being full after five bites of lunch then begging me for snacks all afternoon. Quit announcing you are bored on tours you asked to go on. Playing hide-and-seek in the museums, and getting mad at me for not getting you out of a 350′ deep mine tour fast enough all needs to stop too.

We went to the beach that evening with one goal: wear these lunatics out so they go to bed without me losing my shit. They hit in the water and their land shenanigans carried on in the water.

“Quit going past the swim buoy”, “don’t hold each other under water”, “quit throwing rocks” and “you’re out too deep again” all came spewing from my mouth from my place on the warm sand. I could feel the dark, heavy weight of failure sitting on me like a wet blanket.

That’s when you turned in your chair, saw your son had buried himself to his bellybutton and you told him to “stop it and go rinse off!” in an all too familiar tone.

Our eyes met under huge sunglasses, you smiled, and I held up a fist yelling “stay strong sister!” From there, conversation flowed like the salve my battered mom heart needed so badly after a particularly draining week.

You were also hoping swimming would wear your son out. You cannot vacation without melatonin on hand, just like me. You needed to explain to a child how to rinse off in the water repeatedly as if this was a new concept. We agreed children are why wine was invented.

“You can tell yours are siblings, they’re doing normal sibling stuff” was one of the kindest things I’ve ever heard. All week they looked like heathens compared to the other kids and campers we encountered. The looks we acquired from the Judey McJudgersons made want to crawl under a rock.

The other families on the beach were laughing and playing together like I wish we were, but you didn’t seem to notice those people. Or care. Whatever.

Your shared misery, warm acceptance, and friendly commiseration pulled the heavy failure blanket from me.

This is what motherhood should be. Support, love, friendship, and laughter while we all stumble through the jungle of parenthood. Thank you for that reminder and refueling my heart.

Love,

Exhausted, but not failing, vacation mom

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