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Mommin’ Ain’t Easy…

We as moms try so hard to carry it all. We are skilled at juggling work responsibilities, kid responsibilities, household responsibilities, commitments to friends and family, relationships and we are making it look almost easy. If it wasn’t for the shopping bags under our eyes, the messy bun, the sweat pants, and the unshaven legs we would be unfreakingstoppable! I’ve seen the put together mommies with their perfect hair, perfect makeup, put together outfit, fixing vegan dinners, and quietly telling their child “we look with our eyes and not with our hands sweetie” and we see an impossible standard that we feel we are somehow falling short of. You’re enough. Your kids I promise could care less if your Prada bag matches your shoes, if you have a fresh blow out or if it’s being held up with grease and hair ties, or if your highlighter is on point or you have mascara running down your face. They just want you. They need you momma. That imperfectly perfect you. You know their every mood, the cries, the things that make their eyes light up, which snacks they want from the store, what their challenges are and what they excel at. You are the one that is there in the middle of the night when they have a nightmare, the one they run to when they fall off their bike and scrape their knee, they look for you on the sidelines when they make that goal, they want to show you the A they got on that test y’all studied so hard for. They turn to you for nearly everything. You are their sounding board, their advocate, their best friend, and their worst enemy.

None of us are perfect. We put incredibly unrealistic standards upon ourselves thinking that our kids are going to be screwed up if we let them have cereal for dinner or they have to wear unmarked unlabeled off brand clothing. If I’ve learned anything through raising my threefold it’s that they just want me. They don’t care if I’m a complete mess in sweats and no makeup they just need me to listen to them and guide them to the right choices. They won’t say it out loud, but they want your attention, love, support, understanding and validation. Sometimes it not about solving problems but simply hearing them out.

I’m a fixer. I’m a fighter. I’m a helper. I’m a nagger. I’m an over achiever. I’m competitive. I’m a worrier. I’m a little bit of a control freak. I’m an empath. I’m a bitch. I’m a right fighter. I’m apologetic to a fault. I’m over dramatic. I’m sensitive. I’m impatient. I’m still a good mom in spite of all of it. It’s midnight and I know where all of my children are! I have two teenagers…that’s saying something! I could lie and say I don’t say the f word incessantly or fix frozen dinners or that I’ve never lied to my kids about the candy they “lost” knowing damn well I ate that locked in the bathroom with the faucet running so they wouldn’t hear the wrapper because well, karma and taxes! I could say I’ve never pretended to be taking a nap just so I wouldn’t have to watch another tik-tok video praying that they didn’t catch me squinting my eyes just enough to make sure their blurry little self turns and walks away so I can get back to mindlessly watching Grey’s Anatomy for the 7th time. I’ve screamed and thrown a complete fit over very small things and I’ve been too easy going about bigger things. I struggle and succeed like we all do. No matter what, I always make sure they know I am there, supporting them, loving them unconditionally at all times. That’s the job. That’s the love of a mom. You show up and you love your kids regardless of the name calling, back talk speaking, mess making, excuse giving, whiny little punks they are sometimes. It’s the best and the worst job in the world. It pays shitty, it ruins your body, gives you gray hair and wrinkles, leaves you restless with worry and to do’s, and it’s undervalued and seemingly unappreciated most of the time. Yet here we stand. Day in and day out making sure these little people feel like they have someone always on their side ready to go to war for them if need be.

If you forgot to put on deodorant this morning because you got three hours of sleep after tossing and turning, it is ok. Everyone has days that they smell like the back of a Chuck e Cheese mixed with McDonald’s onions on a summer afternoon. If you haven’t taken a moment to yourself to rest and recharge I’m here to tell you DO IT! Go out! Not to run errands, but to do something for you and you only. YOU deserve it. Go on a date, get a massage, go to a class, meet up with friends something just for you. Shower, shave, get dressed for you and take care of yourself (don’t forget the deodorant!) We are usually so busy taking care of everyone else that we put ourselves on the back burner. This leads to burn out. Complete exhaustion-mentally, physically and emotionally, that makes for a shitty attitude, anxiety, increased irritability and even triggers depression. I’m there, I know how hard it is to make your own list of priorities. I have maybe an hour alone all day-the drive to and from work and maybe the 15 minutes I sit in a gas station parking lot mentally preparing myself for what shit show I am going to walk into at home. We (me included) have to start scheduling some time just for us. Momma needs a time out, a nap, and a little bit of self care. One day will never come. Treat yourself like your own friend, don’t stand them up, cancel at the last minute, or tell them you don’t have time for them. It’s ok to take care of yourself and to take time for yourself. Remember you can’t care for anyone for too long if you stop taking care of yourself! Love yourself. You deserve it. You are enough. Everyone in your life will understand and probably more than encourage it! Schedule some personal time, you are well overdue!

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Learn to Earn

Another day, another dollar for my kids to spend. Sometimes I wonder where all the money goes. It’s gone before it ever hits my account most weeks. Then I remember oh that’s right we spent $300 in groceries. We paid bills so we would have previous internet service. TV streaming services. Make up. Hair treatments. Clothes. More food. Red Bull. Monsters. Gas. Toys. More food. Coffee. Medicines. Therapy. Psychiatry. More food. The list could go on a full page. Everything costs money and when you have a limited amount and have to work for every dollar you become more stingy with it. I don’t buy for myself. I don’t get mani/pedis bi weekly, get my hair done, frivolously shop for clothing or things for myself, hell I rarely get myself my favorite things at the grocery store. I’m not a martyr. I love doing things for the people I love. If I have $1000 I guarantee that 85% of it will go towards things for the people I love. However, if I have $100, you better believe I’m going to hold it like I’m not sure when I’ll have another. I’m usually quite stingy with money. I think and overthink what we need, what is due next week, next month, and I plan accordingly. I don’t like being broke. It’s a stressor and a trigger from years of financial insecurity. When money is off, I’m off.

My threefold however have grown accustomed, especially since my divorce, of getting everything they want. And they constantly want. I’ve given in to a lot of things I wouldn’t have before because I want them to be happy and I feel like this year has been so awful for them. Things don’t fix feelings, I know this, but it’s something I wanted to do. I want them to smile. I want them to not feel like I’m struggling even when I am. If this little give, give, give has taught me anything it’s that they have to learn to earn. Nothing is ever handed to you in life. If you didn’t work for it you better believe someone did to make it possible for you to have it. These little broke best friends of mine are going to have to learn to earn. Having an attitude of expectation without ever having to put in the effort is entitlement. No one likes anyone that thinks they are entitled to something. You’re not. There isn’t a damn thing you’re entitled to. Having an entitlement attitude is not going to serve you well in life. Sure kids have a right to have their basic needs met, but I learned long ago I have to offer (they don’t have to like it or eat it) three square meals a day even if it’s pb&j all day everyday! You need a bed, running water and electricity. Clothes and shoes, name brands not required. All the other stuff is a privilege. That tv, Netflix and Hulu, internet, the phones, tablets, computers, and game systems. Privileges. We give them because we want them happy. I wouldn’t rip the doors off the hinges and lay a mattress on the ground and lock all the food up, but I’ve thought about it at times…probably even threatened it. It’s so hard to find the middle ground between too much and not enough. I feel that they should keep grades up and show effort, help with household responsibilities, and have decent attitudes towards me and each other in order to earn certain things. I’m not a yeller. I don’t like to be down their throats and on their backs all the time. I want them to relax, unwind, enjoy being a kid without ten tons of responsibilities. They have all of adulthood to clean house, get jobs, and pay their way. So where is the balance? When is enough, enough and too much, too much? It’s time for some real talk about expectations.

My threefold have become far too used to asking mom and mom delivers and if I don’t I’m sure their dad will. I don’t feel like they are taking advantage, I just feel like they are losing the respect and appreciation of the money it takes to do all of these things and to have all of these things. They know where it comes from, they know I work hard for everything we have. I’m just not sure they know what that looks like. It’s feels more like an inability to see value in the everyday privileges that they have and the effort that goes into making sure they have it. I don’t have a lot of help financially I work more than forty hours every week to maintain a comfortable lifestyle for our family. I don’t get child support. I don’t have a big hidden money stash when things get hard. I get up everyday, whether I’m tired, sick, hurt, over it, overwhelmed or just no wanna, and I work my ass off. We live in a nice house, in a nice part of town. They have nice clothes and shoes. They have rooms that are decorated to their tastes. They have nice electronics. Internet service, televisions, streaming devices, and streaming services. They have seen me struggle when they were young. They were excited about a trip to McDonald’s once upon a time. It’s easy to forget the value of money if you don’t have to put in the work to get it or struggle to have it.

I’m probably hyper focused on making sure we have everything we need and want, but it’s something I pride myself on. I work extremely hard and excel at my job to provide the lifestyle I want them to have. They aren’t spoiled brats. They just don’t understand what it takes. I was blindsided the first time a mortgage came in the mail after buying my first house. I didn’t have that money. I didn’t even know how to cook my own meals. After I grew up…more or better yet matured and started raising babies I vowed I would not let my threefold grow up not knowing how to do their own laundry or fix a meal or keep a house. I was going to SHOW them. After losing my first home, being in massive debt, struggling to keep us housed and clothed and keep the electricity on I promised myself I would never make them feel insecure about our money or wonder where we were going to go. I don’t want them to struggle like I did when I started out. I don’t want them to lose everything and fight for every dollar and stress over paying the light bill or buying food for the week. I want them to understand the value, work for their part, and have the knowledge to budget for the things they need and want.

I didn’t need that book “What to Expect When you’re Expecting” I need a book about how to teach your children how to be responsible, balanced, good, and grateful people that become stable adults. I’m in the thick of it with raising my threefold. I’ve got one really close to being an adult and two others that won’t be far behind her. It’s hard knowing if you’re screwing it all up or if you’re on the right path as a parent. I don’t think there is any tried and true path to follow on this journey. I think it’s all subjective and trial and error. Mommin’ ain’t easy, but like all moms tend to say it’s worth it. I know my threefold has amazing adventures and lives ahead of them. I can’t say what those are, but I see the potential and it’s the most amazing view.

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The Spin…

Ever get that pit feeling in your stomach like something is wrong and your head instantly starts going 90mph trying to figure out what it is? That’s what it’s like to have anxiety. Except that feeling doesn’t go away, it intensifies. You’re second guessing everything all the time. The thoughts don’t stop. You replay everything from the past day, week, month, year. It’s like you have all of these thoughts fighting eachother for the spotlight. You can’t focus on any one thing. There is no rhyme or reason, rational or irrational, it all blurs together. It’s the spin. It convinces you to find problems everywhere. Tells you you’re failing. Badgers you with the lists of things you can’t do and will never accomplish. It labels you worthless, a failure, and a complete screw up. You can’t do anything right. It demands attention and feeds on negativity. It’s really quite exhausting. You can have a perfectly good day and just like a thief in the night anxiety comes and steals your peace, your joy, your sleep, your voice, and your ability to see reason. It makes you feel like everyone is against you. No one loves you, not really. You’re tolerable at best. Anxiety is a mean vindictive bitch.

Having anxiety is so difficult. Some people will never understand it and the toll it takes on your mind and your body. It’s difficult for people to explain it. My anxiety personally stems from trauma. I wasn’t always this mess of a person. There was a time when I was optimistic, confident, outgoing, bright and shiny. Trauma, abuse, making myself less than, not prioritizing myself, and not feeling safe enough to be open about my feelings has done more damage to my psyche than I would ever want to openly admit. I was a shell of a person in the thick of it. I shut down everything that made me…well me to please others. I am the ultimate people pleaser. I hate conflict and confrontation. I don’t like talking about feelings or sharing problems. I like everything to have the appearance of being completely put together. Inside it truly feels like everything is about to explode and one wrong move or word could trigger the land mine that sets that explosion into action. I became very good at playing pretend and wearing the mask everyone expected.

My anxiety has gotten so much better over the past 6 months. It’s stayed in it’s lane and I’ve stayed in mine. It comes and hangs out for a bit every now and then, but I try to be quick to put it back in it’s place. I can pinpoint it. I know I can’t trust my gut instincts. I know my triggers. I can call on my rational and positive thoughts and place them in the spotlight. I’m quick to counteract it before it takes over. I center myself. I find the trigger and the reason I was triggered. I remind myself that my negative thoughts do not define me. I remember that my anxiety is a compulsive liar that feeds off of my insecurities and self doubt. I take time before responding to those around me so I can speak with confidence and not anxious irritability. I breathe into the current moment and repeat my rational argument to my irrational thoughts. The feeling passes, sometimes not immediately but it does pass. Recognizing your symptoms, your triggers, your why, and figuring out how to focus on your truth is key. I still have extemely bad days where I can’t fight it, but I don’t hide it anymore. It’s a part of me. I can work on it and try to continue to improve but my anxiety is a response to difficult situations, unsavory emotions, triggers from trauma, and an emotional response that you can’t always figure out. It may always be with me. I have had to learn to understand it.

I allowed my anxiety to control my life for many years. It was a miserable way to live. Anxiety isn’t a choice. No one wants to feel like that. No one chooses it and I honestly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s hell. I’ve stopped allowing anxiety to take the wheel. I have my days that it gets unmanageable but I can find my way back out of it. Finding coping mechanisms, strategies that work, learning to manipulate the feelings, and THERAPY! It takes a lot of work and a lot of resurfacing old wounds, but it’s worth it. It doesn’t happen over night, but slowly I saw myself changing behaviors. I wish I could erase and rewrite but if anxiety has done anything for me it has made me realize the strength it takes to live with it. I’m stronger than anxiety.

Behind these eyes are a thousand tears, harboring all of the darkest of fears. Spinning lies in the ocean of irrational thought, the waves of emotion make their unrelenting assault. Fighting to emerge from the overpowering tide, beaten broken and battered inside. A test of strength to survive such brutality. Breathe in deeply and come back to reality.

Me, myself, and I – Threefold