Not What I Expected PT 1

A long time ago in a land far away (ie 2003 in another state) I was nearing the end of classes for my Associate’s. And as I sat in the business class I just had this thought come to me, “I won’t be doing this as a profession, it’s going to be more important to have a family.” The type of photography I wanted to do at the time was photojournalism of some sort. And I knew that in that type of work it would be really hard to start and mother a family. At least for me, I’m not that great at distance relationships. Always going places for assignment, or being out shooting all the time so I could get a few freelance jobs. There wouldn’t  be enough time for me to also devote to my family.

Do know what makes this really crazy?! I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time. What?! But I knew how important it would be for me to have a family, so I started trying to think of what else I could do in life. I really struggled, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought from age 16 that I would do some type of photography for my work. I freaked out inside a lot of days, my personality likes to plan and I couldn’t plan anything since I had no idea what else really interested me. So when I suddenly found myself engaged a few months later I had a huge sigh of relief. I knew what my future was to an extent and I didn’t need to worry anymore about any of that growing up nonsense. I would get married, we’d work and have fun, and eventually have kids. So I was set for the next 10-15 years at least right? I would be a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) and I would think about what I want to be when I grow up later.

It took some time and emotional toll, but eventually we had a baby. And he was beautiful! At the time I worked part time as a crossing guard. And I continued this until just before the birth of our second son. And then I knew I needed to stay home full time with them. And so I did. And it wasn’t anything like I expected. My days weren’t that full, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, my friends worked so I had no one to hang out with during the day. The second pregnancy and birth threw off my hormones a lot too, our second car died right around that time. So I found myself, stuck at home, lonely, nothing to do, no one to do it with, and even if there would have been something I would still have no way to get there to do it. And I was depressed. I mean all that is depressing enough on it’s own, but I had depression as well.

Parent Expectations

Credit: Pict one,  Pict two

I’ve struggled over the years. I liked being a SAHM, but it was also lonely, and somewhat unfulfilling. Seriously, kids don’t thank you for all your hard work, and it started seeming as if nothing I did really mattered. And the few times I was with other adults, ha, my contribution to the convo was how I’d seen a Curious George episode about that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Curious George, but he’s not really adult kind of talk.

A few weeks ago I found this post on Facebook. And it really got me thinking about my experiences as a SAHM. It’s called 10 Dark Parenting Truths. #4 and 5 really struck me.

4. You might give up pieces of yourself that you once loved

No one has it all. No mother. No father. No person. All of life involves sacrifice, and parenting always demands its share of it.

It’s like those friends who stay, or return, or never come back at all. Some dreams and passions and loves stay even after the babies are born. Some return. Others don’t.

 

As a SAHM struggling with depression and other fun stuff, I had lost some of my identity. One day I realized I didn’t know who I was besides a Mom. I didn’t know what I liked anymore. Mothering and depression had taken over and I lost all other identity. It was overwhelming! I prayed a lot, and cried a lot. Then I started to write some. What I liked about myself (I love my long hair). Things I used to like. Things I felt I still liked. Things that interested me, things I wanted to do some day. Things others saw in me. It’s taken some time, and I’m still not fully there, but over the past 5-6 years I’ve been piecing me together again, and seeing who I am today. Finding that I am a mom, and a wife, but also so much more. Getting help with the depression made a HUGE difference in this.

5. You might find parenting unfulfilling

In fact, I would argue that parenting is not completely fulfilling for anyone—nor should it be. Our children’s lives cannot and should not consume our own (much as they might devour our time and attention). Our children are not and should not be viewed as extensions of ourselves.

Parenting can fill one with love and wonder and joy. But it cannot take the place of all the other possible loves and wonders and joys in the world.

Reading about these two things has helped put all the past crap I went through into perspective, and also taught me I’m not alone or abnormal in these feelings. Being a SAHM wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I’m still so glad that I did it. Not much in life ever happens the way we think it will, or feel the way we thought/want. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it, in fact somewhere along the way we find out a little bit more about ourselves, life, and those we love. And it’s great! Different than we though, but great!

 

TT: Letting Go

Thankful Thursday Logo bLetting it go. Believe it or not it’s a skill that can be learned. I used to be pretty bad at it. Subconsciously holding on to things I thought I had let go. Only to find the “wound” re-opened and deepened the next time something similar came along. Finding myself feeling not only the hurt from this particular hurt, but the one (or more) from before from the same person.

Over the past 2-3 years I’ve learned how to actually do it. It’s not always easy, but so worth it. And I still struggle here and there with it, but comparatively I’m so much better at it now. And instead of my subconscious validating that “see I told you so” feeling, I have more peace. I am happier with my relationships in life, and I spend less time feeling hurt.Danger Ex[ectations AheadA few things that helped me to learn this skill: 1 Stop making unrealistic expectations for others. I kept waiting, and expecting my family to see my feelings in certain ways, or for them to understand why and just how much my disappointment was from this time or that when they let me down. After moving across the country I expected them to treat me differently when we came to visit than when we lived by them. And I was disappointed and hurt when that didn’t happen. Then as I was learning to let go we had our second visit to see them. This time I went expecting them to be them, to be annoyed at all the little things that have always annoyed me. And to not care, because I was there for me and my family, and we were going to have fun with or without them. And you know what? It was the best visit ever. The subsequent visits have been great, but this one stands out since it was the first. We all got along better, I didn’t worry about the annoying stuff, or care, and it was great!

2 Find a way to make it funny. Honestly my family is exceptionally good at being sarcastic. And sometimes it got old to me, because it starting feeling sincere from them, and not just sarcastic. But instead of getting mad that they wanted to complain a lot about us also seeing friends while we were out (yes our best friends live there too, and yes we’re going to give them a generous amount of time- these are life long type friends!)… anyway back to it. Instead of being mad that that’s how they were spending the time they had with me, or that they didn’t understand that we only have a short amount of time to spread between everyone, I would switch how I thought about it. And respond in a way that would make me laugh. Like “oh, I’ve missed you too. Don’t worry this isn’t my last day with you.” (and of course say it slightly sarcastically since it’s funny, and that’s how my family communicates) When you find ways to make things funny, it’s easier to stay calm, not get angry and not feel hurt. When my kids fight lately, instead of getting upset I start singing an awesome rendition of “Kung Fu Fighting.” Everybody was kung fu fighting. They thought they were fast as lightning. But them mommy came and spanked their butts. And they cried out all their little guts. They stop fighting and I’m left laughing at my clever, funny awesomeness.693 See it from their view. Like in number one above, when my family complained at me that we were also going to see some friends I was upset that they didn’t understand that we had a whole life there that we had left. (and when I say complained, I mean that it was brought up at least 5 times a day on our first trip out) I felt like they weren’t using the time we had together well, and I was sick of them being mad at me for wanting to see other people in our lives. My brother’s had lived out of state for many years, and it didn’t seem like anyone had a problem with them seeing their old friends. But then I started viewing their complaining, not as complaining, but as them doing a horrible job communicating how much they missed us. And I understood them. And didn’t take it personal that they were upset, but saw instead that they missed me, and loved me. And they didn’t know how to handle or communicate it well.

Hopefully these tips can help you start learning this skill. Let me know what you think, if there’s a tip you have or if these ones help. I’m far from great at this skill, but so thankful to have so much of it compared to a few short years ago. And grateful to be reminded to keep working on it.

TT: Application Time

Thankful Thursday Logo bThe time is fast approaching when we have to turn in application stuff for residency programs. It’s a lot of info and touch up work to get squared away. And on top of trying to advertise how much they should want to pick us for their program, we have to go through a billion program sites. Ok, a billion might be a slight exaggeration, but it feels like it. (and we’re only looking at about half the country) We are looking at maybe applying to 30-40 places, it’s a different number for every person. So it’s like trying to pick the 40 best places you want to live (that you’ve never been to), that also will have the type of atmosphere in the program that fits DrH and I, oh and we should probably know if the schools for B1 and 2 are superb or crap. Not to mention cost of living, I mean you can live in the best place in the world, but it won’t be the best if you can’t afford to live there.

I don’t have to put in as much time and energy as DrH, but I am glad my Photoshop skills can benefit him. I’ve been making his CV look professional, yet memorable, and plan on making his Personal Statement match. It’s a small thing, but it makes me happy that I can help him in this way.

But then it’s anyone’s guess where we’ll end up. There are still interviews to be had and matching to go through. So if you throw in any old place or residency program, you might end up stuck there. It’s a really weird feeling to be looking at places to live, trying to figure out where you’d like to live, and then really have no say in where that place ends up being.

I am NOT NOT looking forward to the cost of applying and interviewing, but I am excited that we’re moving forward. My only wish is that every time we move we get to take the good stuff with us, friends and places. Alas I must live in reality.

20 Things To Remember When Your Wife Is Overwhelmed

20 Things To Remember When Your Wife Is Overwhelmed

I read this post this morning, and thought I’d share it here. It’s really great, and I whole heartedly agree with all 20.

For a sneak peak here’s #14

14.  SHE MAY FORGET YOU AREN’T A GIRL: Girls like girl talk. And if at a moment she feels like she doesn’t have any girls to talk to… you’re gonna be the girlfriend for a minute. She may need a fashion tip and she may need to share a big secret or gossip. It’s only because you’re her best friend and she knows you can handle it.

Seriously people go check it out. You won’t regret it.

TT: A Day Late

Thankful Thursday Logo bPlease excuse my tardiness, travel and seeing people made it difficult to post yesterday. I hope you can forgive and allow a Thankful Th—Friday.

Today I found out that my friend, A, was pregnant, and just today is miscarrying. This was the friend that I had a hard time emotionally dealing with her trying to have another. Today, though, I feel her pain! I know what it is like to have an early miscarriage, and I certainly know the disappointment of trying and not receiving another child. There is no “yes, I’m not alone” in me. I could never ever wish some one else to have to feel even a portion of this kind of heartache. It’s funny because I don’t want to feel alone in it, but never want any one else to deal with it either.

But it makes me grateful for the many blessings I have. And it makes me grateful that I can use my pain and trials to help someone else having to go through something somewhat similar. I am so grateful that we all have experiences to help us grow, but that can also be used to help others feel better. We can’t solve anyone’s problems, but we can let them know how much we love them, that they aren’t alone, that we’ve been there, that we understand. We can tell them what helped us, and maybe some of it will help them to not have to feel as lost in it as we did. I’m so very thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who allows us to help each other and ourselves. I can’t hug her physically right now, but I was able to emotionally from afar. Sometimes a hug is worth more than words. I challenge you all to go out and hug someone today. Share your love, and lift a spirit. And in doing so, you will lift your own.

The Importance of Remembrence

Two days of hell, that’s how it felt. How did I ever go so long feeling like this before?! Having to do it again for only two days, I keep asking myself this.

Depression: dark, menacing, ominous!

Well if there was any question before on whether or not the medication helps… there are certainly no questions now! I had two horrible feeling days this week. I didn’t know why, the days themselves were perfectly fine, but I felt such despair. Apathy for life, for anything I enjoy. And then on the second day, after talking to DrH on our lunch call and crying, after finally taking my medication that day I realized what was going on. My stomach hadn’t been feeling the best and so I didn’t eat much breakfast. That totally threw off my groove, and I had forgotten to take my Zoloft for a day and half.

Yep, a day and a half. I did take it the second day at lunch like I said, so it wasn’t even a full two days without it. And I learned the importance of ALWAYS remembering to ALWAYS take my medication. I learned the hard way. I can’t forget even one day, or the depression comes swooping in.

As much as I hated feeling like that for two days (seriously about 30 min after taking the Zoloft I started to feel a little better, but still really emotional) I am glad for what they taught me. I didn’t really have any doubts about if the medication was helping, but taught me how much it helps. It taught me to be vigilant about taking it. It taught me, again, that it’s not my fault when I feel that way. There’s nothing that I’m doing wrong, I’m not broken, or worthless. I simply have a medical issue that thankfully can be taken care of. It taught me to be grateful for the ability to take care of it; to be grateful for the medication.

I always thought I don’t want to have to take medication to be normal! But you know what?! We don’t ever think that about diabetics, or people who need heart medication! Why do we when it comes to mental health medication?! I saw the difference slowly come about as I started taking Zoloft, and we worked to find the right level for me. But man did I see the stark difference quickly before, during, and after those two days! I also told myself that it was just stress of life, and that I could work it out myself. And now seeing how much better I feel, how much more I love life and doing things, I wish I had done it sooner! (Sorry DrH!)

Learn from my mistakes people! Don’t wait, enjoy life sooner. Medication has made a world of difference in my life! And counseling has helped me work through many issues from my past, and in getting rid of the lies you feel are true from dealing with depression. Do it now!

(pict source here)

Words

I have kicked around the idea of blogging for a couple of years. I never knew how to get started, meaning what to write, how to write it, not how to put up a blog. (Confession: I have a personal blog but it’s pretty much just for family and friends and I haven’t updated it in over a year even though we live across the country, sorry guys) I have felt like this type of writing could be good for me, but I was always afraid. Afraid of having people I know read it. Having so many who know me actually know more of me. I probably over think a lot, but I like to ponder and get things right the first time or hopefully in the first few tries. I’m weird about things most people could care less about, i.e. can’t have a blog if I don’t have a good name for it. So the idea sat on the back-burner for a long time.

Then one day I thought about it again, and everything seemed to work out this time. I found a cool name and a way to be anonymous until I can get over that fear I mentioned above. Not everything I’m going to say on this blog is going to be profound. But hopefully there are a few little nuggets here and there. I write mostly for me, but hope that my words and experiences can help others. I have been helped by many others’ words, and would love to pass that along. There may be many posts, especially early on, that are more solemn feeling as I heal. Well heck, these trials and this healing process it one of the things that came together to start this blog in the first place. But it won’t be all I write, it’s not all that I want this blog to be about. It should be more, because I am more. I am more than my trials, and I am more than healing from them. We are multi-dimensional people here. And sometimes we forget that, about ourselves and others.

Words are powerful. Words have the power to heal, to hurt, to uplift or to bring down. What kind of power do we want our words to have? I want my words to help heal and uplift, and hopefully, even if I am talking about my hard times and trials, even if it’s one of my bad days or I need to vent, hopefully my words together can still bring that message across.

Today in church we talked about a few different subjects, but as we talked I found that they all are actually connected. We talked about seeking after knowledge, about having trust in God, and in the power of words. We believe in my church that we are here to learn to be more like God. So we have to seek knowledge and wisdom since we’re here to learn right?

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Proverbs 8:10-11

So here is instruction for us to specifically seek learning. But how is learning things becoming like God and helping us trust Him? Both answers come from the same place, the knowledge that God knows all things. If we are to become like Him then we must be trying to learn what He knows (that ain’t all happening down here though!) And it would be a lot harder to trust or have faith in someone who didn’t know more than us to help guide us where we need to go right? Samuel tells us that “the Lord is a God of knowledge” (1 Sam 2:3) and Job goes on further to tell us that He “is perfect in knowledge” (Job 37:16). So now seeking knowledge and trusting in God are connected.

And then we went on to talk about words, our words. And I thought words are how we share knowledge. We talked a lot about how our words can effect others. And how we would all like to be better at giving uplifting words to all help each other on this mortal journey. I mean who doesn’t want to hear something positive about themselves or about life? And sometimes we really need those kind words in our lives. Hopefully we can all do a little better to make our words a little kinder in all of daily interactions. It will not only help uplift others, but also ourselves. And who knows, maybe even help us to be more positive in general. Be kind in your words, especially to yourself. Don’t be the person who is always yelling at you, or putting you down. You don’t need that, life is already hard enough.