Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hormones, Womanhood, and Living

It's about to get real up in here. (said in my very white-girl vernacular)

When I was 12 I started my period. (told you)

It was horrifying. I refused to leave the house for a week. I curled up in an arm chair and wondered how women lived like this. I was ready to black-out my schedule every month that this evil beast made its appearance.

But my mom, God bless her, did something very wise -- and very difficult, I'm sure.

She looked at me, her crying, writhing-in-pain-and-hormonal-hell-daughter, and she told me I had that one week. I had that week only to cancel my lessons and activities, to hibernate and avoid all earthly contact. She gave me one week to succumb to my misery and feel sorry for myself for being a female.

But when that week was over, I had to live. Even if I felt terrible, or "gross," I had to get up and do stuff. I had to follow through with commitments and be normal anyway.

I hated her at the time.

But I think back to that often. She did an amazing thing. She probably wished she could shelter me from it all, I know I would if it were my daughter. But instead she taught me that being a woman meant that sometimes you'll feel out of control, hormonal, sick, whatever. And when you do, you take a moment, let yourself feel bad about it, and then get over it.

Now that I'm a mother, and currently a pregnant one, I've been realizing how much that lesson really taught me. It's not all about periods anymore; now it's more often about feeling depressed, or incompetent, sick, or just tired.

"Just" tired?? Ha, what a joke.

(When I wasn't pregnant) I would take a moment in the evening and have a glass of wine. Or a pint of ice cream. Or ignore the dishes and curl up on the couch with a good movie.

I would, and do, acknowledge that life is hard, being a woman, or a mother, or just a person, often leaves you wanting. Feel it. Give yourself a moment. And then move on.

Because people need me. People need you. The world needs us to live in it.

Here's what I don't want you to take from this: I don't want you to think that when you feel like crap, you just have to get over it. That's very destructive, and we as women are really good at inflicting that kind of harsh judgment on ourselves.

What I'm saying is, love yourself and acknowledge how you feel. It's very real. But don't stay there. That's not good either.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Case of the Blahs

One day I said to my husband, "I feel so blah." And he proceeded to tell me that was not a word.

Because I love to show how right I am, I quickly procured a dictionary to show him that "blah" is a real word (duh), and it is "Used to refer to something that is boring or without meaningful content; also depression."

Of course, in that instant my case of the "blahs" was cured, because being right makes me feel meaningful once again.

But truthfully, that's sad, isn't it? I hate that word. I use it, but I hate it.

At no time do I want to feel my life is boring or devoid of meaning. Because it's not. Really. As much as I'd like to have a boring day, it eludes me.

Also, how much more "meaningful" can your life get when you're raising little people who are learning to be humans?


Here's the thing. (I'm sure I'm the only one who struggles with this.)

Are they enough? Are your kids enough to get you out of the "blahs"? You're a mother, you're a doctor, you're an advocate for all things right and good. You're a gosh darn Superhero.

Is it enough? When you're having a moment and you wonder if your place in the world really matters, and you look at your job, or what you do on a daily basis, is it worth it? Are you fulfilled?

Believe it or not, your kids know. They can see when you're depressed. They know when they aren't enough for you. I know because I've seen the sadness in my kids eyes in that moment. It's heartbreaking.

So I'm going to say what I've said to myself on many a "blah" day:

Get of the damn couch, woman!
Stop Googling crap that doesn't matter!
Stop watching the news if it makes you feel that bad!
Eat a healthy lunch for once, you're too good for fast food! (Don't hate yourself that way!)
Get a hobby! You can do it! Oh, you have one? Then work on it! (i.e., knit, sew, write on this blog, do yoga, etc, blah blah blah)
Do something for someone! Stop feeling sorry for yourself! (At this time I usually send my husband a loving text, email a friend something encouraging, or take pictures of my kids and then show them how cute they are. They love that.)

Now it may seem like I yell at myself a lot... it's not a lot, but yes, it does happen. Because it's not fair for me to demand my kids be my all. They are not in my life to fulfill me, or put me in a better mood, or make me feel like my life matters.

That's up to me. That's MY job. I control myself, my attitude, my behavior, and I solve my problems. My kids deserve a mom who takes care of herself, both mentally and physically. They don't deserve a mom who takes her unhealthy habits out on them.

Now go and be Super.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I love my life, but I still need to cry

Well, it's been a roller coaster of a weekend.

My super awesome friend Megan came to visit (I love you my NBFF!!), that was a big "up" point.

My sisters and I had coffee, and I can always count on them to listen or bring me back to my sane place.

My husband is really cute, and is very sweet to me.

My kids had a sugar-rushed, friend & cousin-filled Easter, so they're pretty stoked to be alive.


Here's where it gets tricky. How do I, a very blessed woman, have a bad day? I mean, a REALLY bad day? Or weekend? Or week?

All it takes is one thing. One thing that everything else pivots upon. Something you've staked your happiness in, and wished for, and prayed for... and then it's gone. It's a "just kidding" moment. I used to work with this girl who would always say, "That's NOT a funny JOKE" when things didn't go her way. I often use her tone when speaking to God on days such as this.

It's hard not to get trapped in that thought process. Do you then feel sorry for yourself and crawl into a hole? Or do you get up and take pictures of your kids eating candy and smile and enjoy life anyway?

I choose life. I enjoy my family and everything I have, right this minute.


It doesn't go away. There's still that thing that upset you, and it has to be dealt with, wrestled with, offered to heaven in exchange for something better perhaps...

Don't ignore. Do what you need to do. Cry in the shower. Weed the hell out of your garden. Shave your entire body. Knit a sweater.

Just don't scream at your kids or forget to eat. Neither is healthy, nor helpful. (Speaking from experience here)

As women, mothers, wives; it's really hard to deal, isn't it? We count our blessings and often decide we don't have any right to be sad. We push through because we don't want our kids to see us upset, or we don't want anyone to pity us. We're strong! We pushed babies out of our vaginas and we feel like we can take anything!

True, but there's strength in admitting we need a hug. Or a time out. Or a glass of wine and a minute to think. There's strength in a prayer for help. Or an admission that you're not okay.

Take the help, relax into that hug, and wait for an answer. I'm right there with you.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Inadequacy and Control Issues

There is a moment when you feel completely inadequate to parent your children. They are in control, and you are losing control. They are winning, and you are losing. And then you realize the reason you're shouting at your kids today doesn't have much to do with them at all, but with you.

I'm angry. I'm angry at myself for not being the perfect mother. I can't control my children all the time. I feel guilty and ashamed that I can't quite "get it right." I know in my head how it should be, why is it not happening that way? 

Before we had kids we saw that woman in the grocery store who's child was kicking and screaming (and was obviously not spanked enough, right?), and silently judged her for not being in control of that mess. And now here we are, mothers and fathers, imperfect humans entrusted with the growth of other imperfect humans, and well, I'm just going to say it: we are expecting too much from ourselves AND our kids. 

Often I think it's my tension and control issues that sometimes lead to my kids throwing fits in public. They rebel. They can't win, they can not possibly meet my insane expectations: no touching, no talking, no moving of any kind. Please don't pull that, be quiet, don't ask for cookies. If I were them I'd probably have a tantrum on the floor too. First chance I got. No one wins here.
What if instead we expected our kids to be imperfect? I'm not saying to expect misbehavior or naughtiness, I'm saying lets expect our children to behave like children. And then, lets give ourselves a break. We do a lot for our children, we love them, feed them, bathe them, teach them, and hopefully we play with them and give them the freedom to explore the world around them as well. I am doing okay. You are doing okay.  If at the end of the day your kids are still smiling and telling you they love you and forgiving you for your failures, should we not follow suit? 

Being a parent is the hardest and the most amazing job on the planet. Who hasn't heard that? We all nod in agreement. That doesn't mean we have license to be down on ourselves, or freedom to pull out our hair or lose our voices from losing our cool. It means we have a hard job and we will never be able to meet the perfect expectations we had for ourselves when we were younger. And we were certainly unaware of the reality of what we'd face in that grocery store isle.

But now we know; and knowing is half the battle. Remember, love is a battlefield; and so is parenting.

I really could do that all day...