Not a Mom

Confession. I make a terrible mom.

I used to work in a day care. My room had 18 kids, 18 months through 3 years. I could change a diaper, help a kid use the potty, tell a child to get something out of her nose, and monitor time out all while smiling and enjoying my job.

I could say “good job!” 50 times a day, and mean it. I could hug, laugh, read, clean, direct, and love.

I only have 3 kids now. I can’t handle them. Where I was once a calm, level headed girl who would sit and croon “I’m not picking you up until you stop crying. This is a fit. You need to stop.” Now I just want to scream (and frequently do) “what now?! You’ve only been up an hour! Can’t you just behave?!”

I’m supposed to teach them, direct them, set a good example for them. But I’m also supposed to do laundry, cook, keep the house clean enough the health department won’t shut us down, grocery shop, go to doctor appointments…. It turns out I can’t do both.

I’d like to be a good mom. I’d like to talk all sweet, like Michelle Dugger, with way less children. I’d like to whistle while I work. I’d like to sit and read and laugh with my kids. But all I manage to do is tread water and referee fights all day.

Maybe some day I’ll be good at this. Maybe.

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Too much

Great news! 

I’ve been on my current antidepressant dose for almost a month…it worked for like 2 weeks. 

Now I’m just in this stupid, neverending cycle if mood swings.

 It took 2 months of calling the doctor for me to get to go in…for an appointment I scheduled 6 months ago. I’m really not in a hurry to start that again. 

Meanwhile, I’m really not enjoying being a mom, and I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. So that’s fun, considering “be a mom” IS what I always wanted. 

What I really want is to run away. I’m not sure where I’d go. Somewhere with no kids, I guess. Somewhere with no one around so I can just be angry and yell. Somewhere…not here.

What I really want is to go back to the first part of last February, and just start over. I want my friend’s brother to still be here making people smile. I want to go back and have Laney, and not feel all mixed up to be excited, while his suicide is so fresh.

I want to go back to May and fix my Papaw’s gallbladder surgery…fix it where it doesn’t send his cancer into overdrive and take him from us. I want to go back to July and visit him while he is healthy and laughing, instead of fading and dieing. I want him with us for Christmas.

I want to go back to November and save the kid’s pup. I don’t want to scoop her spattered remains from the highway at 10:30 on a cold night. I don’t want to tell the kids she is gone. And then I don’t want to realize that my own dog is on a downhill slide.

I want to go back to Veteran’s day and be in a good mood. I want to be happy, smiling and excited about packing shoe boxes for children. I want to start the day on a good note. And I want to finish it on one too. I want to go back and save my Memi. I want to skip the text about the heart attack. I want to skip yelling no, no, no over and over when Mom told me she was gone. 

I want to go back to December and enjoy my favorite holiday. I want to bake cookies and sing. Shop, wrap gifts, enjoy lights, smile, laugh, anticipate. I want to go back and enjoy a trip home. I want to skip hating being there. I want to skip my children being sick. I want to actually have fun. 

And I can’t do any of those things! And I can’t bring any of those people back! And I can’t take a year of broken out of my 4 year old’s heart. And I can’t even functional at all, without medicine that is barely keeping me out of a mental hospital.

So now I can’t even hug my kids. I can’t smile at them. I can’t love them. I just sit here and care for them, as though they belong to someone else. As though this is just a job. Nothing special. Nothing to devote my heart to…as if I have enough unshattered pieces of my heart left for anything, anyway.

Out of the Dark

Since my recent post about my depression (This is Not) I have had many people asking how I am doing; here is the update… And a song that has meant a lot to me during this time.

~~~~~~~~

Monday, November 27th was a turning point for me. I woke up feeling so disconnected. So angry. So, so…. done. I told my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law that I should not be trusted with kids. I told them I belonged in a “home.”

And they are inside your head
You got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one
You won’t win your freedom
That day was so long and hard. I have 3 kids 4 years old and under. I did not really care. They lived their little lives around me, while I did the bare minimum to keep them all well. I lay on the floor, or in a chair, and slowly scrolled through Facebook. There was nothing new to see. I typed a blog. I called my doctor’s office — again. They phoned out a different dose of medicine, but offered no appointment.
It’s like a constant war
And you want to settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten
And you feel defeated
Late that evening I felt myself smile. I intentionally frowned again. “You’re depressed,” I thought. You do not get to be happy.” That thought scared me. It felt like giving up hope. It felt totally dependent on someone, or something else to make me smile; to make me happy.
This goes out to the heaviest heart
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
That night after the kids were in bed, I went for a shower. I just stood there wasting more water than I ever allow myself, and thinking. I determined to TRY to feel better. If the doctor was not going to be able to see me for another month; then I HAD to do something on my own.
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over
Yet, woah
Yet, woah
Tuesday morning, I got up determined to be a little happier than the day before. I took my medicine (I had taken it all along, I don’t let myself skip it.) I gave the kids breakfast, then put Laney in her bouncy seat and turned on a movie. I went for a shower. We did school. I made fudge. I smiled — even laughed a couple of times. We went outside for a while.
Oh, game set match
It’s time to put it in your past, oh
Feel the winter leavin’
It’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart (here we are)
Cheers to a brand new start (here we are)
We’re revived and breathing
To live a life of freedom
Wednesday I repeated the breakfast, movie, shower. That seemed to help. We did school, and enjoyed it. We played outside. We baked cookies together, and I had patience (forced, but there) with my children. We went to church, and when “my people” the ones who really knew asked me how I was, I got to say I was good =) and mean it! The asked about my day… it was good!
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over
Yet, woah
Yet, woah
Thursday was good. Friday was good. Saturday. Sunday. I’m only having brief spells of sadness. I was able to shake them off. Each day I have to remind myself to be happy. Each morning starts with a calm shower, and a pill. But the pill is helping. And the CHOICE to TRY is a good one.
And life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (here we are)
Oh no never give up (here we are)
Life is a race we run
So run till the race is won
Don’t you ever give up (here we are)
We will never give up (here we are
So to answer “how are you doing now?” Better. I’m not well, I don’t guess; but I’m better. And better is feeling oh so good! Now I only have to deal with asking how on earth I always let myself get so far down before I realize there is a problem. (Laney is 9.5 months old. Skeet was about the same age the last time I had a dip this low. Motherhood is a beast. And the slide is slow and steady until you just wake up at the bottom.)
And oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
And even when you think you’re finished
It’s not over yet
It’s not over yet
Keep on fighting
Out of the dark
Into the light
It’s not over
Hope is rising
Never give in
Never give up
It’s not over
Yet, woah
Yet, woah
Yet, woah
Yet, woah
It’s Not Over Yet. It’s really not.
And if you want (or need) to hear the song, it is:
King and Country It’s Not Over Yet, and you can hear it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmTmTMcdxOs

This is Not

I have severe depression.

This is not a little sad. This is not needing a hug, and a good cry.

This is not a matter of having more faith. This is not just pray it away.

This is not needing to adjust my diet. This is not a lack of sleep.

This is not more fresh air and exercise. This is not a good chat with friends.

All of those things are great. And all of them can HELP. But this is NOT those things.

This is anger — rage. This is mad at nothing…All. The. Time.

This is feeling sick from swallowing emotions. This is not knowing how to laugh.

This is hating myself and how I treat others. This is yelling anyway.

This is having a good day or two. This is knowing that won’t last.

This is a 4 year old saying, “just calm down.” This is a husband saying, “this is not who I married.”

This is medication. This is doctor appointments.

This is wanting to be “you” again. This is remembering days, or years, you’d go back to.

This is intense. This is painful. This is scary. This is embarrassing. This is hard. This is lonely.

BUT

This is not the end. This is not all there will ever be.

This not impossible. This is not my life…not forever. Some how. Some way. Some time. This will not be…

Sutherland Springs… The Place

I want to start this blog, by saying that I have willfully avoided reading, or watching news about the shooting that took place in Sutherland Springs, Texas, this past Sunday.  In a world where information is so easy to attain, where news will be in front of us whether we want it or not, just by opening our Facebook, or other social media; where we cannot hide from the facts…I think sometimes it is important to try. I say this not because I want us to be ignorant of the suffering around us, but because I want us to be aware of the strength within us. I have been struggling with my depression this week, and I knew that the events that unfolded in that tiny church, were more horrific than I was able to bear.

All that being said, while I have not sought out information or the how or why, I have been deeply grieved by the loss. Empathy — real empathy — comes from having experienced the same situations that others around you are facing. I will never pretend to know the true anguish those families in Sutherland Springs are going through. But I will say I have always been able to in some way “feel” others’ pain. Whether it be a deep cut that needs stitches, or the loss of a family member or pregnancy; my body will hurt, or my heart will break with another in those times. My heart is shattered this week.

In the midst of all the noise about gun control and mental illness treatment, behind the roar about who fired the kill shot who took out this devil, in all the pain and confusion — one loss has stood out in my mind. The loss of place.

As Christians our churches —  especially small churches like First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, TX — these buildings often represent a huge part of our lives. The building itself holds so many memories. The people, the pews, the Sunday School rooms, the smells, the way the door squeaks, and the water fountain shoots too far… Things we don’t think about in the day to day, but in years to come we want to look back on them and smile.

In a way, I have experienced that loss. You see, through some selfish and unbiblical decisions, I have lost all respect for the people that meet in a building that holds some very fond memories. And while I no longer care to associate with any of those people it hurts me that I can’t return to that building. I know that sounds strange, even selfish, in the wake of the loss; but it is something to consider. If I am sad to have lost a building that everyone still walks in and out of alive and healthy each week, how do the people who lost so many lives in one day see their sanctuary?

As humans we want very much to be able to return to “simpler times” whenever we are hurting. Maybe that means wanting to go eat Thanksgiving dinner with grandma. But grandma is gone and her house has been sold. We can’t return to the place we see holding those memories.

The families that were ripped apart in the most savage fashion, while sitting in what should be their place of refuge, can no longer return to a church building that holds fond memories. Even if the building could be scrubbed clean, until there wasn’t a trace of the massacre left… the fond memories are gone too. How can they remember running and laughing at VBS, in a building that broke them apart? How can the smell of the church remind them of good times, when their ears are ringing gun shots? How can a mother smile about her son’s baptism, when she no longer has her son? The emotions of their loss are simply overwhelming.

Now, I know for many, the shock, loss, and pain are still too much to even consider what has happened to a building. I know when you are burying multiple generations of your family all at once, the building you lost them in may not seem important. But I also know, in the back of their minds, sits a child that just wants those memories back.

So while the nation argues over gun control, and how and why, and all of those things — I pray these families are able to some day find their sense of place again. I pray they are able to build a new church that holds strength. A building that reminds them of the time a community, a state, and hopefully a nation came together to create new memories.

I will pray.

In memory of all of those who lost their lives November 5, 2017

First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas

 

In honor of those who are forever changed by this horrific event.

What If…

What if depression didn’t have to be a secret?

What if we didn’t fear admitting anxiety?

What if telling others about our struggles was socially acceptable?

What if we could post “I’m having a terrible day. I want to hurt myself/my kids/my dog…whatever” on social media and our friends wouldn’t ignore the plea but would rush to help us, instead?

What if admitting post-partum depression wasn’t met with “you wanted kids.” As if by wanting kids we some how chose mental imballance too.

What if writing this blog didn’t feel like posting a naked selfie because it feels just as inappropriate?

What if spouses could vent to friends when they need support with a depressed loved one, without feeling judged?

What if we all admitted depression has touched us personally, or some one very close to us?

What if we admitted how scarey and lonely it feels?

What if we changed all this?

What if….?

Your Phone is Killing Your Family

I recently wrote about parenting with grace. I made it pretty clear that is not my area of expertise, and because of that it was a very hard subject to cover. Today’s topic stands on my toes just as hard. But the thing is, I can often go back and read my own blogs and learn from them as though some one else wrote them. I’m hoping that is the case again today.

We live in a time where technology surrounds us. In a time when we have the capacity to be the most connected generation ever, we are instead the most disconnected.

We all know it to be true. We have all sat in a restaurant, looking at our phone, then looked up and thought “look at all these people, staring at phones instead of talking.” We have all answered a call, or opened a text or app when we should have been focusing on something else (human, or otherwise.) Many of us have engaged in some type of battle of words on social media, that has stolen a few minutes of our day. Most of us are guilty of checking our phones while driving; despite the risks. And so, we are less connected to the PEOPLE around us, than any other generation before.

Your phone is killing your family. My phone is killing my family. Our phones are killing our families. Fast.

Let’s think of all the wonders a smart phone can bring to our finger tips. We can, obviously, call family or friends. We can text others. We can post pictures or funny things that have happened to a plethora of social media sites. We can buy or sell things via Facebook, Craigslist, Ebay, and any number of other sites. We can design our home interior, or find recipes and craft projects on Pintrest. But what do we do? We put off calls. We text to whine or brag, rather than converse. We gripe and argue. And we stare at useless content and waste our time.

Meanwhile our families suffer.

I think all of us are guilty of looking at our phones when we should be engaged in something else. When we stare at our phones (for any reason — Facebook, or reading the Bible — ANY reason) and only look up at our children to fuss or yell because they are loud, messy, breaking things…whatever. All we communicate is “you are distracting me from my phone.” Ouch…. “you, small, mold-able, learning, growing child — are distracting me from my phone.”

When we go out to eat, or even sit at the table at home scrolling through Pintrest, we aren’t focused. We are off in our own worlds. We are saying “sorry, family. You bore me.” Yikes… “Family, you have nothing to offer me right now. What is happening here and now is not important to me. I really don’t care.”

When our phones are in the bedroom (raise your hand if the charger is on the night stand…*hand up*) we devalue our marriage. We try to talk, and hear a ding. Even if we don’t pick it, we stop talking for a split second. We heard a ding so, however briefly, we consider responding. Oh my… “We are married. And that’s great, but our time isn’t as valuable as what exciting thing might have happened on my phone.”

This list could go on. But I think we are getting the point. In a world full of connections we have lost the art of connecting. I don’t know the stats. Maybe no one has done a study on it, anyway. But I would guess intimacy levels (true intimacy — not just sex) are lower in this day and time than any before. We have the ability to communicate so easily, and yet, even the words we say are muffled by, either our own distraction, or the distraction of those we speak to.

As soon as I stand up from the computer (and right after I change a diaper) I plan to go find a new home for my phone charger. I’ve worked for a long time to not take my phone to the table for family meals, but today I won’t take it while the kids eat their little lunches before nap. I could easily put my phone away and talk to my husband in the car (whoa! Crazy speak!!)

How will you address this for your family? What changes will you make?

Because we can’t keep killing our families with our phones. We cannot be that generation. We must make changes.