Taking the leap..again

If you have been a reader of my blog for any length of time you have probably noticed that I jump around, a lot.
I can be extremely gung ho about homeschool revamps one day then be all about cleaning my house the next.
I will admit I am easily distracted by shiny things, flashy lights, sale signs and kids with high pitched squeals or baby fat. I’ve been this way most of my life just not to this extreme. So far, I’ve blamed the kids. The more I have – the more easily distracted I become. Maybe it’s sleep deprivation. Maybe it is something else entirely.
My mom has recently had her ADHD diagnosis reconfirmed. She wanted an unbiased doctor that specialized in evaluations for ALL things (not just ADHD) to do the testing. Smart woman, as he carefully explained in the end how she had been misdiagnosed on a couple of other things! **Totally irks me that doctors would treat her for years for something she didn’t have just because a doctor who specializes in ONE disorder couldn’t step back and see anything other than the one or two symptoms of THAT ONE disorder, ignoring the signs that said “that’s not it”**
Treatment underway, she is now doing great and feeling much better!
I have always been torn between did I inherit it and did I just copy her behavior. This is not the first time I have felt this stressed and desperate about it. Six years ago, I asked for an evaluation. I received my referral and made my appointment. Two weeks before my appointment, Mr. and I had the most horrible moment in our marriage. Words were said that crushed me and it took a LONG time for me to let them go and forgive him. What made it even harder, was walking out of the “results” appointment being told- “There is nothing wrong with you. People would KILL for a profile like yours. You just need to get up off your butt and do what you need to do.”
Yes folks, I paid $300 for that.
The “ADHD” test that was given to me was c.r.a.p.
It was paired with an IQ test.
There was no sit down conversation or question answer session.
No one asked my family to fill out a questionnaire.
My mom has been asking me to get reevaluated. I hate doctors. I hate that I have to find a new doctor (I don’t have one in this town yet), I have to pay $25 to go see him – explain my story- and get a referral, then go pay $50 to MEET another one. I hate that IF they find anything at all I may have to choose between nursing Peanut and being medicated. I hate that IF there is something that could have been helped sooner that I would have wasted all this time struggling and all the impact it has had on my kids.
I hate that they could tell me, once again, that I am just fine. Perfect mental profile. You just need to get off your butt.
On Tuesday, I took our daughter to get a referral because in my gut I just know something is not right. I just instinctively feel that her life right now is more difficult and stressful to her than it needs to be; all I need are the tools to help her.
I bet that’s how my mom feels. She just knows in her gut something is not right and if someone would take the time to listen that it could get better for me.
After Peanut’s first birthday I have an appointment to see the local family doc. Seems the one my husband goes to, the one that I saw one time for a really bad cold, is retiring. I get to meet someone completely new. I will be grateful for health insurance and that all I have to pay is the $25. I will pray for his wisdom and kindness. I will try to imagine that God took Dr. Wolfe away so that I could meet Dr. Martinez because Dr. Martinez is going to be awesome and I will LOVE him (as a doctor!). I will pray that should there be something that needs treatment in the form of medication that Peanut, who loves his cup and eating off of my plate, will decide that he’s a big boy that doesn’t need mommy’s milk anymore – all by himself – so I don’t have to choose.
I’m going to try, one more time, for answers.

Why are we all so insecure? (Guest Blogger)

When Lisa put out a call for guest posters I wanted to help but I struggled with what I could offer her readers. My youngest child is 7 and we’re (happily) through with that whole contributing to the gene pool thing. I don’t home school. I’m not a SAHM. I am NOT at ALL crafty. I stand in awe of Lisa and all the other women who pull off this full time mommy job — well — full time. Like REALLY full time.
But I just recently started a study of Beth Moore’s “So Long Insecurity” with some women in my church. You know a study is going to be good when you’re sobbing just a few pages into the first chapter.
“Good”? It’s completely subjective.
Moore uses a definition of insecurity taken from “The Tender Heart: Conquering Your Insecurity” by Joseph Nowinski.
Insecurity refers to a profound sense of self-doubt – a feeling of uncertainty about our basic worth and our place in the world. Insecurity is associate with chronic self – consciousness, along with a chronic lack of confidence in ourselves and anxiety about our relationships. The insecure man or woman lives in constant fear of rejection and a deep uncertainty about whether his or her own feelings and desires are legitimate.
Highlights are mine. Because yes. Yes. And oh dear lord yes.
Oh. My. Goodness. I probably could have highlighted the “constant fear of rejection” too. I have this fear that I will drive someone away. That they’ll have this realization that they screwed up by befriending/loving me. That they’ll, well, yeah, reject me. But I wouldn’t say it’s constant. Not even close. Still – it whispers sibilantly through the back of my mind more often than I like. Which is to say any at all.
What have I learned from the study so far? One – I’m insecure. Oh wait…I already knew that. No – what has really jumped out at me is the fact that I’m not the only one. Moore says that this is a universal struggle though with different areas and intensities. If you meet (or are) a woman who does NOT fight this particular battle, then it’s because you have put a lot of effort into it. I tend to believe her. Primarily because it makes me feel better. In fact – I was absolutely shocked by one of the woman who strolled into our first group session. She’s young, cute, outgoing and bubbly. She seems to have it all together. And yet she was in tears because she was tired and frustrated. Tired of doubting herself, of disliking herself. Frustrated with the fears and anxiety and the bonds she felt in her life.
I’m not alone. And guess what? Neither are you. It will interesting to see what this study yields.
Rhoni is God fearing wife and mother of 3 boys who manages to work full time, mom full time, wife full time and co-lead a lifegroup at her church. She blogs at Not Living In Vain and is active on twitter as @Rhoni_renee. She is also a great player on Word With Friends and unlike me she doesn’t take 20 hours to spell a word.

So I'm a dinosaur huh?

Doodlebug (9): Hey Mom, can you guess what’s in my pockets?
Me (much older): Tomatoes
Doodlebug: HOW DID YOU KNOW?
Me: I’m smart like that.
Taderbug (6): MOM IS LIKE A TROODON!
Me: I’m like a dinosaur?
Taderbug: Yep!
Me: Cuz I’m big?
Taderbug: Nope. Troodon’s were smart! You’re smart! So you are like a Troodon!
And that’s how we do science class kids.

I said BED time. No one said anything about SLEEP.

Our girls were having bedtime difficulties.
Ok. Our kids have ALWAYS had bedtime difficulties. We would have a run of good nights and then BLAM!  Whining. Dragging. The never-ending “I forgots”.
While they were at Awanas Sunday night I made up a little reminder to help them.
It’s our bedtime checks, a list of what not to forget, in rhyme with a last minute recap of our definition of bedtime.
I don’t care if you sleep. It’s not SLEEPtime. It IS “night” time. It IS “bed” time. The moon is up doing it’s job. All they have to do is stay IN BED.
Now….I need to define when “morning” begins!

Am I really supposed to feel failure before my morning coffee?

I totally understand and LOVE and APPRECIATE that God gives us things that we CAN handle…with Him and that it is important for us to reach for Him and seek His strength.
I get it. I go to Him. Often.
Lately, it’s before I’m even out of the bed.
I want God to be involved in every aspect of our day.  I try to remember to pray before meals. We say our bedtime prayers. I pray while I sip my coffee. When events happen, especially events that confuse or worry my children, I try to explain it to them from a Biblical perspective.
Am I really supposed to spend my entire life feeling totally incapable of making it through breakfast without an infusion of strength from the Holy Spirit?  Aren’t I allowed to feel capable of doing AT LEAST a mundane task on my own without failing?  Am I being selfish to think such things?
I lay in bed in the morning lost as to how I am supposed to get all this done.  I hate feeling like I’m just waiting for them to grow up enough for this to not be so hard anymore.
Does any of this make sense?

Today's To Do List

1. Wake up
2. Drop to my knees
3. Thank God
4. Pray for my husband, who let me sleep in while he went off to work.
5. Pray for my children, that they will be great despite my all-too-often poor parenting choices.
6. Pray for my friends and my extended family.
7. Pray for those that need my forgiveness, even if I don’t feel they deserve it, do it any way
8. Ask for forgiveness, especially for the things I don’t deserve to be forgiven for.
9. Thank God
10. Listen

Rock Bottom Mom

A few days ago I posted about me. You can read it here, titled Just Me.  It was not a good day.  I hadn’t cried that day but it was still a tough day.
I was once again overwhelmed with the response from my friends on Twitter.  So many moms tweeted me with hugs, prayers, and sharing that they too were feeling the way I was.  It is so nice to know you are not alone.
Not wanting to be a total party pooper here on the blog, I sent out a  request for a guest blogger that might infuse my blog with some new ideas on how to tackle ANY of the things I had whined about in that post.
Carolyn from This Talk Ain’t Cheap was the first to come to the rescue. Thank you so much Carolyn for this moving post!

Rock Bottom Mom

I love when I hear celebrities give advice about parenting and juggling work and family responsibilities. It just seems so practical. Have your Nanny watch the kids and make sure you schedule some alone time to pamper yourself with a facial, massage and manicure. Now why didn’t I think of that? Makes sense. We need to focus on “us” instead of “them”. We need to schedule date nights with our spouses. We need to delegate to our “help”. That’s what we pay them for, right?
I have three children spaced 2 years apart. Do you know what that means? That means that when my youngest was born, I had a newborn, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I had two in diapers and none of them had started school yet. Three children. At home. With me. All day. Every day. 24 hours a day. One would nap but the other two would be up. I’d finish nursing the baby and then the other two would be hungry. Having 3 kids means NOT having money. Not having money means NOT having a Nanny.
Do you know how much laundry a family of 5 accumulates? I do. Laundry has become my career. I am a laundress. I think that any job that you perform every day of the week constitutes you being an “expert” in said area. I am an expert at laundry. I am an expert at cleaning. I am an expert at diaper changing. I am an expert at child wrangling. What I am not an expert it… despite all the above… is being a Mom. Why? Because there is no such standard. Hard to believe, I know, but there is no Mom-of-the-Year Award. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I used to cry on a daily basis from exhaustion. I used to curse the day that I ever got pregnant. I hated my husband. I hated my kids. I hated the entire planet. Misery was my best friend. And nobody… nobody in my life seemed to understand.
I felt like a complete failure. I hit rock bottom.
A funny thing happens when you hit rock bottom. There is nowhere else to go but up. It’s true. Miraculously, you wake up one day and find that the kids are now getting their own cereal and you actually woke up on your own. You find that you go to the bathroom and can complete your business without banging on the bathroom door. Suddenly your last little one starts kindergarten and you can enjoy a cup of coffee alone. In your own house. Without noise.
There is hope. It’s coming. I promise. Meanwhile, here are a few things I did learn along the way to cope with the pandemonium until you get to “there”.

  1. Don’t laugh at this, but make a list. Seriously. Make a list either the night before or in the morning of the things you HAVE to accomplish. I’m not including laundry on that list (unless of course you have NO clean underwear and really need some). I’m not including cleaning and feeding and cooking. Include things that absolutely have to get done like: make a Dr.’s appointment, buy diapers, take a shower. Yes, I said shower. See #2. Do at least 2 things on the list before lunch and you will feel that at least you accomplished SOMETHING.
  2. Take a shower. OMG – don’t complain, just do it. Bring some toys into the bathroom and sit the kids down on the floor if you have to. Trust me… if you are fresh and clean every day then you will be able to handle things so much better. If you think I’m full of it, give it a try for a few days… you’ll see.
  3. Get out of the house. Alone. Now I know that you are NOT going to schlep three kids to the market or the mall – I’ve tried that enough to tell you that it just isn’t worth the effort – but even if it is 9:00 at night and you have to run to the store or go get a cup of tea or go drive around the block – you will feel better (and think better) being AWAY and ALONE.
  4. Give the kids chores. I know this sounds lame but find at least one thing your kids enjoy helping with. I asked my kids what they wanted to do to help around the house. My 8 yr old actually likes taking the garbage out. Go figure. My 11 yr old likes to cook and help in the kitchen. My 6 yr old? Well… we are still figuring out what (and if) there is anything at all she likes to do other than watch TV and play with dolls.
  5. If you clean one room, do one load of laundry, cook one meal a day, consider it a huge success and have some chocolate. Seriously, it helps.
  6. Write down the things you did right all day. Don’t laugh but it will help with your mood and show your husband that being a mother is the most important job in the world. Write down things like…
    1. Snuggled baby for an hour.
    2. Read a story book to the kids.
    3. Sat and had a snack of goldfish and laughed with the kids.
    4. Changed diapers 6 times.

You laugh now, but when you see how your day is really taken up, you won’t feel so bad about NOT cleaning the floors and NOT getting to the market. Believe me, it’s OKAY to have mac & cheese or omelets or sandwiches for dinner.
And my best piece of advice? Breathe through it. It might suck now, but it DOES get better. IT DOES. I PROMISE. THERE IS HOPE.

I am the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, ages 11, 8 and 6. An interior designer by trade, I now mostly focus on writing about my kids, my life and the struggles we all go through as parents. My passions are reading, writing, cooking, traveling, scrapbooking and drinking lots and lots of coffee.
Carolyn West
Twitter @temysmom

A hero, a web server and friends.

I wish I could write today and say that my pouty attitude from yesterday was better.
Unfortunately it is not.  It might even be a little worse.  I don’t remember crying yesterday, but I did it at least three times today.
Since January is Gratitude Month, I’m going to list a few positives I can skim off of today instead of dwelling on my frustrations.
First, we had a ton of leftovers from dinner last night, so I didn’t have to cook dinner.
Hubby worked all day yesterday and 6 hours in the middle of the night and still got up at 11am and spent most of the day building us a media server and me a web server so I can work on creating my own WordPress blog themes and designs.
He was also home when the battery died in my car and was able to quickly come to town and rescue me.
One of my online BFF’s gave me another opportunity to do some design work… and she liked the result!
I am within 30 minutes of being done with a project I should have had done already.  It’s one of those things that clings to the back of my mind as a “if they’d just behave I would have finished this already” anger trigger.  Thrilled to have the work, bummed that my time management skills are lacking….  but looky looky… I’m almost done!
I doodled a new idea for a friends blog design.
I found a pair of clean pants.
My shirt is a tad wee bit looser.
I have a couple of great mommy blogger friends who have taken me up on my offer to host guest posts!  I can not WAIT to see what these GREAT ladies write up!
I taught my kids Roman Numerals today and they totally got it!  We had fun writing our ages and birthdays in Roman Numerals.
Our six year old read two entire “chapters” in her Dick and Jane book with NO help.  ROCK ON TADERBUG!
The water bill arrived, on pink paper, warning of a disconnect. I got to throw it away because the check had already been sent in- they just crossed in the mail.
Our two year old used her potty three times tonight!
I will try again for a better day tomorrow and remember to end it by counting my blessings.

Just me

No meme, no theme, no vlog with graphics, no cute pictures.
I feel like as of January 1, 2011 my blog has gone downhill.  Maybe I feel that way because after my first week of well thought out scheduled posts were done I found myself scrambling to make sure I posted something everyday.  Everyone was starting these great New Years themes and I wanted to join in.  I even started my own.
Suddenly I don’t feel like blogging.
I am running the Couch to 5K program.
I am sitting on the floor with my kids.
I am (thanks to a broken washing machine) doing LOTS of laundry.
I am learning to do better blog design.
I am learning new tricks for my graphics design.
I am trying to be optimistic about hubby’s trip out of town most of next week.
I am desperately ignoring the speed at which my ONLY son, and last baby, is advancing through the “infant” stage.  He is stealing food off my plate, drinking my tea, and climbing the stairs.  He just turned 7 months old.
I am trying to read my Bible every day.
I am trying to cook more real food and less boxed food.
I am trying to focus, organize, take time, make time, love, cherish, remember, hang on, let go, trust, wait, balance, juggle, breathe.
My house is a wreck. My kids are stressed (their behavior gives that away). Mr. B is at his wits end with them.  I feel stupid and inadequate. I have to write a to do list to remember to brush my teeth and hair.
I really thought that if I stopped trying to dabble in everything and just picked a few things that really interested me that I would be more successful.  I feel even more lost.
I need to find a way to work with what I have.  I have to step up again.  I have to make it work.
Hubby keeps telling me there is no such thing as “multi-tasking”. It is only “switch-tasking” and it is NEVER an effective way to function.
I keep telling him he is not allowed to lecture me on this topic again until he can give me a viable alternative.