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The Christmas Comedown

The Christmas Comedown, otherwise known as post holiday dysfunction at my home. I wrote about something similar last year and called that post The After Christmas Crash. I must not be alone in this aftermath effect of the hustle and bustle that leaves us feeling a bit like a deflated balloon after a party. Obviously, it is a reoccurring event that now I must find my way through each year.

Post Holiday Dysfunction

This is not a diagnosis in the DSM or even an actual medical term in any way. Its just my description of the feeling that comes after being hyped on Christmas cheer, chaos, and anxiety for weeks and then suddenly the crash happens. We are no longer amped up with this adrenaline, increased serotonin, or oxytocin that our bodies have produced to get us to Christmas day. The side effects of our bodies not producing the same amount of chemicals that our crazy Christmas countdown did leave us feeling in a slump.

The hustle bustle of the holiday season is what keeps us going. The days right before we are overstimulated and overwhelmed with all of our to-do lists. However, the days after, it’s almost like we are missing something. In my opinion, we are. We are lacking those stress responses that keep us energized enough to wrap 27 gifts in the early morning hours. We know longer have the alarm bells of moving elves, finding that last minute deal, or scheduling the seven Christmas visits we need to make.

Substitution or Satisfaction

As a mom, I know, there is always the next thing to start doing. Eventually, a new problem to solve will arise or a child will have something else for us to figure out. The slump of emptiness and unmotivated restlessness will fade away probably sooner than we realize. In the meantime, we are forced to find a way to either substitute the lack of endorphins or find a way to be satisfied with the slower pace.

Substitution

I will be the first to admit that relaxing and just allowing things to settle isn’t my strong suit. I wish it was. I’d love to be more like my husband who can find peace in a TV remote and a comfortable bed. For me, I’m looking for the next thing I need to do.

I don’t just relax very often. I feel restless, stagnant and pretty irritated when there is nothing to do. I can also admit that although I don’t want to get out, I want to not sit still. I don’t want to clean my house, but I want some tasks to do. I’m not sure that makes sense. However, I think that is me thinking that doing nothing is equal to laziness. I know there are many things I could do, but I am just looking to procrastinate those as I wait for the motivational push to actually get them done. That usually only comes with those stress chemicals our brains release when our back is against the wall.

Instead of relaxing into the moment, I overthink myself into this ball of stress and irritation. I find the fight instead of just allowing the battles won to be celebrated. I look for the substitution in order to get the fix of adrenaline and endorphins that my body became accustom to receiving during the stressful holiday season.

Satisfaction

Contentment is one of those things I long for, but to be honest, it also sounds boring. I want a lot, I expect a lot, and I do a lot to try to get what I want. However, I do want to learn to be present and just enjoy the now. I don’t want to plan out the next 5 years daily nor make lists of all the things I need to accomplish. I don’t want to plan for unlikely hypothetical situations or assume the worst. Hello anxiety. I want to be able to just be. No strings attached. Unfortunately, this is a skill that has been elusive to me for years.

I should be counting my blessings, celebrating my wins for this year, and enjoying some time where the kids all are happy and content playing with their new gifts and gadgets. How do I curtail this Christmas Comedown and post holiday dysfunction?

Combatting Christmas Comedown

You guessed it. My own concoction of how to combat this Christmas Comedown.

  • Take some time to do something for yourself.
    • Meditate
    • Buy yourself a gift
    • Read, write, or take a nap.
  • Enjoy time with family
  • Accomplish a to-do you’ve been putting off.
  • Get out of the house for fun instead of out of necessity.
  • Celebrate your wins.
  • Go on a date.
  • Exercise.
  • Meet up with a friend.
  • Have a dance party or scaryeoke.

The short and long of it is to do something fun both for yourself and with others. Enjoy your holiday successes or just celebrate that you survived another Christmas! Either way, it’s done and we have nearly a whole year before we have to be all Christmas Carol, the elf moving, Christmas magic making, PTO participating, merry and bright decking the halls Santa’s helpers again. Count your blessings. As always, we’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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An Open Letter to My Daughter Becoming a Mom

Dear Sweet Little Love,

I feel like it wasn’t too terribly long ago that I looked into your beautiful baby blue eyes and saw this new life in you that made me a mom. A little nose like mine and strawberry fuzz that covered your crown. You were magnificent and I knew that I too was reborn that day. You made me a momma, and in your little face I had found my truest love to date.

I was only 19, barely on my own path and I was suddenly diving headfirst into a world that previously had involved the occasional messy diaper and few other minor inconveniences that my babysitting jobs entailed. I had no experience with your tiniest of frames at 17 1/2″ and 6lb 8oz you were much like a baby doll i had once drug around as a small child.

I was just a baby myself, much like you are now, my sweet little love. I was freshly plucked from my fast life as a teenager and tossed into this world of Motherhood. I was grateful beyond measure for a family that a seasoned pro ready to spoil her first grandchild and a poppa who thought you hung the moon. Foe the first time, I saw how hard it was to be the mom. It was an appreciation I hadn’t known prior to your arrival.

Here we are, a mere 18 years later and I’m standing the shoes your Nana once wore, without her here pushing me on. I watch as your still tiny frame tries to accommodate your own little girl. I never thought about being a Nona, Mimi, Nana, or a Mamaw past that “one day” assumption. Yet here we stand. Footsteps that I didn’t wish for you to follow. A path that’s hard to tread at your young age.

Everything will be harder. It will, however, be clearer. You’ve already decided certain aspects of this little person’s life that will impact their life for the future. A name, a nickname, where you’ll live and all things you want, hope, and dream she will be. However, who she is will be shaped and determined by the paths we as the family who surrounds her chooses to take. As you know, my little love, children are most often along for the journey chosen by those who raise her.

I hope with your own journey in mind that you know this much is true. I am here. I am still your momma even as you become a momma yourself. I can still kiss the boo boo’s, but I can’t take the falls. I can hold you as you scream, but no matter my desire I can’t shoulder the pain. I can guide you, show you and teach you the lessons I’ve learned but I can’t transfer the experience. I can be like the grandmother that was taken from you 14 years ago, but I will never be Nana you knew, nor the momma you are now.

Life has thrown us a lot of punches. We’ve taken the hits and learned to fight back. You and I grew up together, myself as much as you. I was forced to walk this road down Motherhood lane much on my own. I haven’t been the mother you deserved, nor always the one you needed me to be, but I’ve been the best I knew how to be. You, my little love, will too. Mommin’ aint easy, but I’ll be here for you, with you, and loving you through it as long as I live. You’ve got this, my sweet little love! You’re as tough as a mother. I can’t wait to see the amazing person you’ve created and watch you become the momma you never knew you were destined to be. I’m proud to be your momma. Soon, you’ll understand just what a mother’s love truly means.

☮️❤️😊 I love you!

~Momma

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What I Wish My Kids Knew Now

What I wish my kids knew? Phew. A LOADED question for most moms, I think. Mommin’ ain’t easy and my crazy train is on the bipolar express, which makes our lives extra complicated. I’ve got a list, so I figured I share it with my tribe. Ready or not. Here are all the things I wish my kids knew about me, their momma.

My Wishlist

  1. I’m only human. I make mistakes. I mess up. I forget important stuff. I lose track of time. I am just a regular person who is imperfect like they are.
  2. I am inspired, motivated, and intrigued by them. I am in awe of the masterpieces of these little creations.
  3. They hurt my feelings. The mean words, the hurtful actions, or disrespectful behavior genuinely hurts me. They cut me the deepest.
  4. I want to protect them. Sometimes from others, but sometimes from themselves. I hurt when they hurt.
  5. I cry for them, I worry for them, and I obsess over every single decision that will affect them.
  6. All of them are my favorite. Some days it’s my oldest, other days my middle or my youngest. Some days it’s all three. They all hung the moon in my eyes, so there are no trophies for “favorite”.
  7. They make me better. I wouldn’t be who I am without them, individually or collectively. They have changed me in ways they will never recognize.
  8. They’ve saved my life more times than I can count. I struggle with mental illness and I admit I have had many times where I wanted to give up. I’ve always fought through because of them.
  9. I have trauma, too. I have a messy and complicated history. I’m damaged, broken, and haunted by my past. My struggle is just as difficult for me, however, I’m healing.
  10. My life doesn’t revolve around being a mom. I am more than just that title. It’s not always about them. It can’t be.
  11. My frustration is not their burden to carry.
  12. Being the primary parent who is responsible for every aspect of three human lives is extremely difficult. I may not be “single”, but I am the main source of support emotionally, financially and physically.
  13. I pray everyday for them.
  14. I believe in them more than they will ever know. I don’t want to see them struggle. I try to ease that struggle each day.
  15. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right there for every moment until the day I die. Beyond that…it will be in the music.
  16. I always love them, but sometimes I really don’t like them.
  17. I’m sorry for every minute of pain, hurt, trauma, and horror they ever lived. My mom guilt is heavy, and I swear to never allow them to experience any more of that pain.

In My Feelings

I’m not crying! You’re crying! Shut up. <sniffle> Don’t look at me! My experience, their lives, and our family gets me in my feelings sometimes. Not to mention, this momma is exhausted in every way imaginable. Between hospital admissions for 2 and now 3. To the new baby on the way. My vehicle deciding that she has had enough of us, and working all the damn time, it gets very hard.

One day, when these babies have babies they’ll get that we weren’t joking when we said mommin’ ain’t easy! I’m sure you have a few to add to the list! Feel free to share your thoughts on what I missed or missed the mark on! In the meantime, we’ve got this, all of us! Because, that’s what we do! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Success, Strength & Socks?!

Life with kids

Holding back tears I asked, “DOES she have SOCKS?!” This was my BIG worry tonight as we walked through Walmart at 9:00pm on a rainy, random Wednesday night. College. My daughter is leaving for college…tomorrow and I’m worried about socks!? She is 18, dreams of being a psychologist, and the world is at her feet. Me, I’m the mom worried about if she will have socks as she goes out to show this world what striving for success and strength looks like!

I looked to the man who is my calm in the storm, casually walking a few steps ahead, he nonchalantly answers “yes.” I questioned him again. After all, I knew nearly every day, no matter how many pairs I buy, my girls are going to come steal my socks. In that moment he looked at me and calmly said “yes, your baby has socks.” I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

Why was I crying in Walmart over socks? I’m sure I looked and sounded ridiculous. I was irritated. I was emotional. I was thinking about 18 years of time that came and went far too fast. I was happy and I was scared. So I was worried about socks. Silly, I was a wreck…but why socks?

It’s ironic, that a little over 18 years ago I was in labor. In fact, I vividly recall getting “new mom” anxiety at the hospital about socks for my new baby girl. I was asking the same question then as I was this very night. Of all things I was worried my baby wouldn’t have socks!

My mom rushed out to buy socks for my sweet baby and her tiny feet. In addition, she bought clothes to fit her tiny frame. My first was so little. My beautiful red haired, blue eyed, baby girl was full term, but weighed 6’8 and measured 17 1/2” long. So small. My first baby girl of my threefold, and my first true love.

Looking on as moms do, I saw my oldest daughter, with her two little sisters bickering. I laughed and tried to let them do their typical back and forth banter. I played the pull mom every direction and make sure she pays attention to each child. I tried to remain patient and calm as I listened to each tell me their “needs” or “wants”. My anxiety was growing, but not due to worry about her or even the other two of my threefold. I was forgetting something. Had to be.

As the night passed on I noticed my emotional state was becoming so high that I was becoming overly anxious. All the needs, wants and reminders flying around for all three girls. Then the little fights. As my anxiety increased so did my oldest daughter’s. I could see her feeling like she was getting “more” than her younger siblings. In addition, I could see her insecurity surrounding money start to make her flustered. As a result, I saw firsthand, that she was feeling all the anxiety I was trying to push down. Instead of her knowing why, I saw her viewing herself as the cause of every bit of my increasing anxiety.

I got her nearly everything she has needed over these past couple of months. We only have a few last minute needs to tie up. Yet, she still felt like she was causing my anxiety. That wasn’t it. Not at all. I was proud and wanted nothing more than for her to feel confident as she began college. Yet, I felt like I was failing her as our anxiety climbed together.

What I didn’t tell my oldest is that I wasn’t anxious over buying what she needed, her sisters bickering, or even the growing list. I was missing something, but I couldn’t place what.

This feeling was unshakeable. Maybe I was just being a mom and scared. However, I’m not scared of her making the wrong choices, failing, or getting into trouble. I know her on a level that goes beyond a typical mother/daughter relationship. We talk about everything. Above all, even if I don’t want to hear the truth, she doesn’t lie to me in the way most teenagers do lie to their parents.

Finally it hit me, right in that Walmart aisle and with those socks sitting on sale. I didn’t forget to make sure her feet were covered in clean socks. She had her toothbrush and pj’s. This went beyond the superficial level of material needs. I was forgetting the person who once inhabited that tiny frame.

She was moving beyond her past. I no longer saw a scared girl with anxiety standing in the aisles going through the mental checklist she made a year ago of everything she needed. I saw the person who had worked hard to find her own voice again. I saw a woman who was funny, kind, and a genuinely good person standing worried about her abilities.

My daughter deserves all things good. I want this for her and every good thing in life. She has sacrificed more than many. Furthermore, my oldest daughter has been my coparent even if she didn’t ask for that responsibility. She endured the hardest circumstances in submissive silence to avoid making life harder for herself, her sisters and I when the abuse we all endured was aimed in her direction. She suffered and sacrificed her childhood, her teenage years, and her own blood, sweat and tears to help her younger sisters and I survive .

Her strength isn’t only in the survival it’s in the story she is writing in spite of the circumstances she was raised in. That strength is in her smile that is contagious. The confidence in her own abilities and the goals she has chased, regardless of the people along the way who tried to tell her every reason she would never reach them.

Her complete transparency, self awareness, genuine kindness, and inclusive nature all are part of the backbone of her identity.
It’s takes bravery to walk through the fire, but it takes perseverance to walk through that fire and not allow your entire life to be consumed by the pain.

It’s takes courage to love with your entire heart and give of yourself to others, even though that love and gift has been taken advantage of since you were young. It takes commitment to make a plan and to speak it to others, but it’s the determination that carries you across the finish line. It takes fight to face your worst fears, but it takes ferocity to overcome those fears.

My daughter is just another girl to the world, but she is going to change the world of the people who have the honor to know her. My daughter is beautiful, smart, and talented. However, she is more than any pretty pictures or my bias words could convey. My oldest daughter is the smallest of my threefold. Nonetheless, at 4’11, the truth that she has learned is “dynamite comes in small packages…BOOM!” Get ready, because this girl of mine is about to blow up on your scene.

She is my daughter, my first love, and I’m so incredibly lucky she calls me mom. She definitely has more than just socks these days, she has a whole suit of armor that she forged in the fire of her past. That armor is her success story. The one she has written each day along the way and will continue to write until it reaches completion. I am just happy to be on the sidelines cheering her on and supporting her through this crazy train ride called life. To my threefold, to my first little love. You’ve got this! Together we’ve got each other, always. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Summer Break? Part 1

I’m only a week overdue for posting the update I promised! Summer has come and nearly gone, but the moms out there trying to mom mental illness, mom it solo or even semi-solo, mom through it all, no matter what. We’ll ALL moms know breaks are for everyone else, but you rarely catch one. For me breaks are few and far between. Sometimes, you would consider a psychotic break comforting. After all, it means disassociation, detachment from reality, some sleep, and three meals per day where YOU didn’t have to think about it. Then there is that whole meds, people wondering when the next episode is, and everything that would be left undone. Nope, not worth it!

Summer Breakdown?

I am proud to say that, no, my threefold and I, nor ‘E’ or my bonus kid have suffered from any major breakdown nor has there been setbacks. That’s right! It’s been a rough summer for my threefold. More difficult than I had hoped for, however they have progressed in ways I never thought I would see. I couldn’t be more proud and relieved to know that we hit a very bad time, but we were able to see it through to a path that didn’t involve inpatient or injury to self, property or some major crisis. However, that hard time was the closure of a chapter for all.

Summer Bucketlist

I wanted a Disney movie wonderful summer of family fun and kids enjoying marking items off of bucket lists. I wanted us to enjoy our lives after I had watched my aunt bury 2 of her sons at 33 and 29, my cousins, 2/3 brothers, the kids I grew up with and people who hadn’t even had the chance to have their own family yet. We needed to remember that while we still have life. We needed to live it.

I wanted my threefold and I to spend some quality time together without the stress of the previous school year. I needed to have those memories and I thought that’s what they needed too. I had hoped for vacation time and for all of my family to reconnect on a level that said “this is the good life.” As a response, life said my plans were not the same as life’s. Apparently we needed something else to overcome. {eye roll}

Summer Broke

This summer was hell and I don’t mean just the heat, these demon bugs we call mosquitoes, or the fires that were sparked by my anger, anxiety or my agitated mood. I had too much going on and my focus was not in the home. It was definitely not on me. It was not on ‘E’. BOTH of our vehicles broke down. Financially we were still trying to recover from February and March’s medical bills of the over 10 weeks of inpatient and partial hospitalization we have already had between #2 and #3 of my threefold this year. Not to mention the 17 weeks we were still working on from the previous. As it always seemed to be we were struggling.

I was stressed to the point I wanted to snap. I was impatient with my threefold, sitting and scheduling my life away from them while home, and so out of my depths. My focus was frazzled, fried, and finally furious at the circumstances I was in. I felt I was being oblivious to an obvious problem, overworked, overwhelmed, overlooked and finally I was OVER IT!

Summer Burn

I was ready to say “I’m done!” As my workload increased to that of a person expected to wear every hat of each position like a seasoned executive who wrote the rule book. I was trying to do the job of my superior, my support staff, be my own assistant, trainer, lead designer, sales superstar, the best, and I suddenly hit a wall. I decided to resign.

I had a staff who was overworked and overwhelmed. I had great people. In addition, they were trying to help . I asked myself why was this becoming such a nightmare. and it hit me. I was trying to save a boat that was sinking and everyone was about to jump ship. Why?

We have had high turnover for a minute now. My people didn’t quit. They grinder it out. They liked me…right? Well, I am likable, funny, driven, and have the memory of a person that will never forget about things that are really important. I’m just trying to hard or doing something wrong. I was trying to make people happy. It wasn’t the job. It wasn’t even me. It was the chaos that had come over the castle. I was merely coordinating chaos, and not correcting the issues causing it. Maybe, if I resigned it would be the white flag of surender saying I can’t manage the mess.

Summer School

My fairytale summer was shattered with my DIY crash course that I called “combat training”. I was battling the war at work and not only just promoted to a role as assistant manager in March, but I hadn’t been trained on how the processes to correctly handle the job. I had no idea that I was making things worse by constantly covering for my missing commander and chief. My loyalty and love for him and my livelihood depended on me finding the fix to any problem and showing my people I was the company woman who could handle anything. Even if I was I second guessing my every move. I knew my confidence would see us to calmer coexistence we all needed. I lied.

Summer Cold

My stress was making me sick. I had lost another ten pounds. I was not eating, not sleeping well as my mind raced at night wondering what did you forget. In addition, my usual routines all halted. Self care was non existent and my tolerance for other people’s problems went to the bottom of the list. However, I kept pushing. Something was going to have to give.

I decided to part ways. I was ready to resign. It was obvious that I was allowing yet another person take advantage of me. I wanted to give back what I was given, but I was becoming someone I didn’t like. I was becoming an angry person who hated coming to work because I was going to have another day of covering for someone else I cared for, covering for the man lying to everyone, and someone refusing to admit there was a problem. I was watching my past repeat in a work environment. I couldn’t allow myself to be broken and to become cold living in a hell I could escape from. I needed to stop the insanity. I was at peace with that.

Summer Escape

I had come to terms with my decision and turned in my resignation letter with a final lie. My lie said I had found employment that would allow me to be home more and present for my threefold. It is the only lie I felt believable enough that they wouldn’t put up the fight for me to stay. My tears had poured out of me writing that letter. I was devastated that it was a chapter that I never thought would end. At least until I funded my life as a freelance writer, designer, marketing guru, Facebook money mogul in the blogosphere of moms or whatever other dream that will one day create independence from a standard 8-5 job.

I loved this job. It was my break from my personal issues outside of there. I am awesome at this job. I am too good, actually. I am overqualified and I’m beyond grateful for that. I loved everything about my job. That was until I took the place of the man who walked out of this position before me. Red flag, maybe, but I saw my opportunity to step up. In that opportunity I sacrificed the thing I said I would not overlook again with a promise of more and a hope for the future we deserve. My threefold.

Summer Stolen

I had worked my butt off, literally, for this company. I felt I owed them after they moved mountains for me last summer to make it where I could be a mom and also have the place I could put that part away just for a bit and do something I loved. I was ashamed of my behavior. I was saying we needed more money than my own family needed me. A struggle any single mom knows.

Instead of staying with #2 at the hospital and going to the inpatient facility where I was needing to admit her again, I left her room in tears as she said “mom, it’s ok, you can go. You have to.” Did I? Well I needed to be in two places actually three, but I needed to not lose a promotion due to my personal life, because money had to become a larger factor.

We all need this to happen. I convinced myself I was doing the right thing. I know now she will always tell me what she thinks I need to hear in moments she thinks could be a burden. I was just blinded by a loyalty to a person who would use me and then replace me to save themself but I had no idea. As I was leaving I thought if I don’t get this promotion this will be enough to make me leave. I’m sacrificing more than I ever would, but hoped it would be better if I could have more control of the chaos. I could calm it as I could change the climate and bring the commander of my crew back.

Summer Storms

I got the promotion. The promises of change once our mid year inventory was over and the crisis at work calming down were as empty as any promise before. After deciding not to get blindsided by the brother who was thriving at this company, the man I fell in love with at this company and a few coworkers who had weathered this long hard season with me I was ready to make the move. My boss put up no fight or said any words of why I should stay. Instead, I was left thinking maybe he wanted me to leave. It was easy and unemotional. I was a mess about this, but me maybe I was just “replaceable”. I promised to help the next person as much as I could before the end of my notice in two weeks and was relieved. July would be the month that made our family reconnect and we could have some real quality time as a family. Again another storm brewed and I wouldn’t allow us to chase it anymore.

Summer Breakthrough

Little did I realize it was only the end of June and the chaos was fixing to get uncovered and everything was about blow up. I couldn’t have a summer break, I couldn’t afford a summer breakdown, we weren’t going to get a summer vacation that involved connecting and making the good memories of a life we were building and we had sacrificed for. This wouldn’t be the summer we deserved. It would be the summer that I found a way to breakthrough our barriers. It was the beginning of the new life. First we just needed to commit to weathering this summer storm and that was hitting us right at home.

TO BE CONTINUED….