Like Nothing Had Ever Happened

This post was after a particularly shitty day, told in the third person. I’m sure many parents can relate.


NaBloPoMo Day 25

Psychobabble

It started like any ordinary day.

And that’s the thing – these days, most days were just that – ordinary.  Sure, some moments stuck out for better or for worse, but they were mostly spent in the monotony of keeping her kid safe, clothed, fed, occupied.

As she lied in bed, she could hear her son happily babbling over the baby monitor.  He rarely woke up in a bad mood.  She got up and started her usual routine of making the bed, getting dressed, dragging a brush through her hair, and then she went to go get her son.

As soon as she opened his bedroom door, the stale odor of his poopy diaper floated out to greet her.  And then she could see, under her smiling, blond baby boy, that his crib sheet was quite soiled.

She sighed.

First things first, she thought, Diaper change, then strip the…

View original post 585 more words

Advertisements

There aren’t enough cinnamon rolls in the world

This is an exciting time, in a way. Exciting and disheartening to say the least.

(I have mixed feelings about trigger warnings, but nevertheless, here’s one for talk of all the sexual assault allegations in the media currently going on.)

So many survivors of sexual violence are coming forward to place blame, rightfully and publicly, squarely on the alleged perpetrators in Hollywood, in television, and in politics. I even hesitate to say “alleged” in that last sentence because people rarely lie about being victims of sexual assault. In my profession and my experience, I believe a survivor. Always.

I am so proud of all those survivors who have come forward, even when their perpetrator is famous, powerful, a dickhead, or all three. I know there are several times more survivors out there who haven’t spoken out, and those who have come forward give all the others strength and hope.

I feel a shift happening. Hopefully this is another wave of human beings rising up and making it normal to say, “Hey! You can’t treat people this way. We see you and your actions and you will be held accountable.”

I’ve watched the news as day after day, more allegations have come out and people are screaming for Roy Moore to drop out of his race. House of Cards was effectively canceled. Louis C.K.’s movie was shelved.

I watched an episode of Megyn Kelly’s new Today Show where she put up pictures of man after man accused of sexual assault and listed off what each asshole had been accused of doing. For once, the focus was on the perpetrators and not the victims. I felt a weird combination of….elation, hope, and disgust.

Elation – YES! We are holding perpetrators publicly to the fire and screaming that this behavior is despicable in a way that I’ve never seen before.

Hope – Maybe momentum will build. Maybe this is the beginning of something bigger. Maybe lasting change will happen.

Disgust – For there to be so many, SO MANY survivors, there are tons of perpetrators out there. I admit, I’ve had feelings of deep disappointment to find out that people whose work I enjoy and admire have been accused of sexual assault. This SUCKS. Why do so many men think this is ok and think they can get away with it?! (#patriarchy)

Tonight, I was eating some leftover cinnamon roll when I learned about allegations against Louis C.K. I was shocked, disgusted, and disappointed. At a loss, I started shoving more cinnamon roll into my mouth. It seemed like the right thing to do.

My husband and I joked that there aren’t enough cinnamon rolls in the world because all this feels like too much.

Maybe one day we’ll have more than enough cinnamon rolls because people will remember to stop sexually assaulting other people and then lie about it. That sentence made sense in my head, but I think you get my drift.


NaBloPoMo Day 13

 

Naming my Gremlins

So there’s this weird thing.

I want people to read my blog. I like the attention and the likes and the comments (not gonna lie, dopamine is one hell of a ‘drug’). And I just started sharing this blog with mom friends and locals that I actually see in real life. And I think they might actually read this.  Which is awesome, right?!  I appreciate the support and it’s a rush and I want to work on my writing, create some space for me, and express my feelings.

But.

I’m worried I’ll be judged. Ripped apart. Either in comments, or worse, silently and behind my back.

It’s the feeling where I put myself out there by writing something emotional and hard and true…and then immediately after hitting the ‘publish’ button, I want to take it back.  Because people are going to see whiny and weak and selfish instead.

I know what this feeling is called. It’s called vulnerability. And I’ve come to know that when I feel this feeling, I’m taking a risk. Putting myself out there. Which means I open myself up…to the bad AND the good.

What if people actually like my writing? What if they see courage and authenticity? What if some publisher wants to give me a million dollar advance on a book deal and a free nanny for a year?!?! (One can dream…)

So I’m going to take Brene Brown’s advice and name the gremlins* (like I did above). And then I’m gonna keep writing and keep posting, and tell those gremlins to go fuck themselves.

Because as long as I am writing what’s true and productive and respectful, then I am writing for me and no one else.

And I (and my writing) are enough. (I think I need to type that a few more times before I believe it fully.)

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.

I am enough.


*gremlins are the word Ms. Brown uses to describe the shame voices that tell you you’re unworthy of love and connection.

NaBloPoMo Day 9

As She Ran

 

She ran.

She ran with elation, with fortitude.

The grasses licked her limbs as they parted, faster and faster as she ran.

She didn’t know quite what she was running from.  From everything.

Except everything was actually unfolding before her

As she ran.

The wind became her breath

As it traveled into her mouth, down her windpipe, filling her lungs.

Oxygenating her blood.

And whooshing back out.

Again and again and again.

Faster and faster.

As she ran.

Her dusty bare feet softly thudded the earth.

Heel first, then ball, toes last, pushing off.

Heel, ball, toes.  Heelballtoes.

Thud-thud-thud.

Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.

Lick-lick-lick.

Her hair, blazing in the sunlight, trailed behind her, furiously trying to keep up.

Her dress did the same, only it tugged as it caught on the grasses.

Tears streamed across her face, blown back by indulgence.

A warm glow ignited deep in her belly and slowly radiated out

Down into her pumping thighs, calves, thudding feet

Up into her heaving lungs, biceps, hands, fingers

Spine, neck, brain

Sparkling eyes, flushed cheeks, parted lips.

A smile spread, automatically.

Laughter escaped, bubbling up and spilling out

Like a caged animal set free.

It could not be stopped

As she ran.

Where was she going?

She only knew where she’d been.

She just kept moving, afraid to succumb to inertia.

She was desperate to remember how it felt

As she ran.

 

Swirling Hot Mess of Emotions

My heart is just so bursting full…of everything.  Love, gratitude, depression, exhaustion, sadness, grief, body image issues, joy.

My mood swings are controlling me.  I feel like my whole life is out of control, and rightly so…because was it ever within my control to begin with?  Like when my son was born, this out of control feeling lit a fire under my usually only moderately crazy OCD tendencies.  I go nuke if something goes missing.  I clean even when I’m supposed to be doing something else.  I try and control the things in my house because I can’t control any. thing. else.

Being alone with my two kids often terrifies me.

The things my body is capable of continue to astound me.

Breastfeeding is a beast.  I’m having PTSD flashbacks around what it was like to breastfeed my son two years ago.  I hate how my entire outlook on life depends on how well our last breastfeeding session went. And they are hit or miss.  At least she’s latching better than my son did and I am very thankful to report that, for whatever reason, I am actually making more milk than I did after my first pregnancy.  Huzzzzzzah.

I hate talking to lactation consultants. They mean well, but man they hit me squarely on my breastfeeding shame trigger. On one hand, it’s my fault that I can’t feed my kid. The simplest thing ever, just feeding her so she doesn’t die. I’m not doing the right position, or I’m not making enough milk, or I’m not pumping enough, not getting enough sleep.  Take your pick.  On the other, it’s her behavior that’s getting in the way because she pushes and claws and bites and thrashes around and screams.  And I resent her for it. Damnit. Either way, horrible mother. And in suggesting I try something different, like massage the breast, use a hot compress, nipple shield, football hold, pump, pump, PUMP – the lactation consultants just seem to highlight the fact that IT’S NOT WORKING and somehow it’s all my fault. You see the spiral.

In order to get through days without falling apart, I’ve had to work hard to disconnect myself from my feelings. It feels so yucky to just numb out like that, but the alternative is to burst into tears while listening to a voice in my head that is wailing, “It’s noon and we just finished breakfast! We can’t do this! How are we supposed to be able to get outside today? Or brush your teeth? Or put on pants?!”

Instead, I have to force myself to listen to the other voice, the emotionally sterile voice saying, “Hey. Now we need to feed the baby. Your toddler can wait to eat, but she’s screaming. Go on now, first things first.”  It’s a constant struggle, but it works.  And some days are easier than others.

When I look back, I realize that 2015 was the year when nothing happened.  I know I blogged about how it was the year a grew into being a mom, and I am so glad that I had that time with my son.  That year, we didn’t change marital status.  We didn’t move.  We didn’t change jobs.  We didn’t get pregnant or have any babies.  Things were stable and boring.  Yay for boring!

My hope is that 2017 is like that, too.  I’d like the time and space to develop a routine with my kids, a relationship with my daughter, and a new relationship with myself as a mom of two.  As for 2016…that was the year when things got progressively harder.  I got pregnant, I got tired, then I got huge and tired.  I slowed down while my toddler sped the fuck up.  I had daily pain for a while and I could barely bend over to pick up things my toddler had dropped…or thrown.  We still managed to have a lot of fun in 2016, though.  We went camping and (barely) survived.  I applied for a job I didn’t end up taking, but it was nice to put on professional clothes again.  We took our son trick-or-treating and he loved it.  We took him to the snow and had mixed results.  We took a trip to California and had fun seeing family.  We took our first family road trip and D danced at his first wedding.  We successfully became DAYTIME POTTY TRAINED, people!  We went to the zoo and hunted for Easter eggs and went on a train and picked strawberries and saw a parade and ate ice cream and played in the water features and went to the planetarium and went to the pumpkin patch and toured a cheese factory.  Whew.

I’m glad I just typed all of that out because, according to that list, 2016 wasn’t all that bad.  We were a family!  We really got to enjoy my son being a fun age.  My hope for 2017 is that things just get better from here on out.

Even though my current days are often dark, I can totally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Part of it is because I’ve been through this once before.  I know a little better what to expect, and we’ve already adjusted how we’re dealing with raising a newborn since the first time.  Another part is that I’m done making babies.  This is it; this is my family, and it’s beautiful!  I’ve gotten everything I’ve ever wanted, and I feel so amazingly (hashtag) blessed, as cliche as that sounds.  But it’s true.

And with that, this blog post has come full circle.  It’s a swirling hot mess of emotions: welcome to my life.  My beautiful, imperfect, perfect life.

 

 

Someone please fix it

super bummed.

i really wanted to be able to go.  i need this.  someone make it so.  someone FIX IT.

too often, i hang my happiness, or potential happiness, up onto this Thing, and if the Thing doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen the way I want it to, somehow the potential for happiness is gone.

that sounds so stupid, doesn’t it?

because the Things are so small, yet I give them so much weight.  capital Ts and all.

Life isn’t perfect.

Life is messy.

It’s okay that I am not perfect.

Perfection is boring.

Perfection doesn’t exist.

I’m going to be fine.

I am fine.

I am enough.

I have everything I need.

i have all these great mantras and i can go through them until i’m blue in the face, but they still don’t take away the….the what?  disappointment?  anger?  hurt?  shame?

all of the above?

this makes me feel like i am five years old, unable to tolerate such feelings so that they come pouring out of me as behaviors – physical manifestations of my nebulous emotions.

in other words – they become real.

letting go is super hard.  processing this is hard.

someone teach me how.

someone please FIX IT.

Like Nothing Had Ever Happened

It started like any ordinary day.

And that’s the thing – these days, most days were just that – ordinary.  Sure, some moments stuck out for better or for worse, but they were mostly spent in the monotony of keeping her kid safe, clothed, fed, occupied.

As she lied in bed, she could hear her son happily babbling over the baby monitor.  He rarely woke up in a bad mood.  She got up and started her usual routine of making the bed, getting dressed, dragging a brush through her hair, and then she went to go get her son.

As soon as she opened his bedroom door, the stale odor of his poopy diaper floated out to greet her.  And then she could see, under her smiling, blond baby boy, that his crib sheet was quite soiled.

She sighed.

First things first, she thought, Diaper change, then strip the bed, then laundry.

As it turned out, the leak was so bad that this kid, who normally only got two baths a week, needed a quick one from the waist down.  He was delighted.  She was already exhausted.

She got all the dirty things in a pile, shoved them in the washer, threw in some extra OxyClean, and got the boy downstairs for breakfast and to move on with the day.  And not a moment too soon, because being pregnant with baby number two meant that breakfast needed to come asap in order to stave off the dizzy spells.  And all that bending over for the sheets and bath weren’t doing her any favors, either.

Breakfast was uneventful, but since the pre-breakfast cleanup took so long, she decided to just stay home and play inside between breakfast and lunch.  Hopefully they could get to the water features after lunch and before nap.

When the washer was done, both mom and son trekked back upstairs to transfer everything to the dryer.

The toddler had run off to play somewhere and mom opened the washer to discover that the poop stains had gotten worse, not better.  Upon frustrated inspection, she found that matter from the leaked diaper had stayed inside the pajamas and had been let loose inside the washer to wreak further havoc.  Everything would now have to be hand-treated and rewashed.

Just as she was silently swearing to herself, there was a loud crash.  It sounded like breaking glass, but it also didn’t register.  What the hell could he have gotten into? was her immediate thought as she turned to find him.

He was in his room, looking stunned and standing next to a floor lamp that was now entirely on the floor.  Glass was everywhere.  Both were barefoot.

She burst into tears.

He burst into tears.

She tiptoed across the carpet, picked him up, tiptoed back across the glass minefield and immediately went downstairs, leaving everything just where it was.  Poop stains and broken glass.

Feeling completely overwhelmed, she called her husband at work and a fresh round of tears choked her words as she tried to explain what had happened and that she needed him to come home.

Please help.  I can’t do this.

A mercifully short 15 minutes later, her husband was upstairs being amazing by cleaning up the mess.

It looks like a crime scene up here! he called down the stairs.

No shit.

He explained that he looked up the proper way to clean up mercury, because he didn’t want to stir up all the yucky particles.

Oh, fuck!  The actual bulb broke, too?!  I thought it was just the glass of the lamp.  I didn’t even look.  Good thing we got out of there and I didn’t even try to clean up.  Ugh.

He cleaned.  Mom and son had lunch.  They didn’t make it to the water features that day.  Instead, they played in the kiddie pool in their yard.  Not knowing the changed plans, the son had fun just the same.  Right in time for a nap, the dad had the room all clean.  No glass, new sheets.  Like nothing had ever happened.

The dad (thankyouthankyouthankyou) went back to work and the mom spent the quiet nap time working the stains out of the load of laundry by hand. As if the stains were demons and the sheets were motherhood.

She washed the load again.  This time, the stains came out.

Like nothing had ever happened.

 

Three Years Later

On Tuesday my partner and I celebrate three years of marriage.

I want to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorn farts, but it hasn’t.  Well, there have been farts, but not those of the unicorn variety.  It’s been…loving and supportive and stable and hilarious and the kind of tenderness that brings one to tears.  But it’s also been the biggest challenge in our relationship since moving out of state and having a kid and basically having our whole world flipped upside down.  And now we’re about to flip it once again with baby number two.  Woo-boy.  I’m sure glad I have him by my side for all this.

But enough about our marriage.  The anniversary gets us thinking about our wedding and all the bittersweet feelings that go with it.  I blogged about it (read it here) to help me cope at the time and then the post got Freshly Pressed, which I initially had mixed feelings about.  On one hand, getting recognized for my writing is always nice, but I was worried that the feedback I got would just make me feel worse.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I felt so validated knowing that many, many other people felt similar letdowns as a result of their weddings.  My comment section became a big virtual group therapy session.  We shared horror stories and shared what helped make us feel better.  I thanked people for reading and supporting and commenting.  People thanked me for writing because it made them feel less invalidated, less sad, less alone.  I am glad that I wrote what I wrote.

What interests me now, and what prompted me to write about this again, is that that blog post has been by far my most popular post.  To this day – almost three full years later – it still gets about 3-10 hits a day, on average.  Every day.  And occasionally, people still comment with their own stories.

It makes me feel so sad when I read what people have Googled to get themselves to my wedding blog post.  Things like, “my wedding was a disaster,” and “I can’t get over how my wedding went,” or “I’m depressed about my wedding.”  This sucks!  Part of me feels validated because, again, I am definitely not alone in how I feel about my wedding.  However, part of me feels like a sucker.  I fell for the whole wedding-industrial complex.  I got wrapped up around expectations that were handed to me (and that I readily accepted) by society, spent a hell of a lot of money, put tons of eggs into the basket of one blissful day, only to have it crash down all around me. What does this say about our society that this post-wedding blues phenomenon is so common?!

Would I do things differently?  A few, but not many.  I admit, even now, I still just wanted the fun, expensive party that I could enjoy with all my friends and family.

In the months following my wedding, I responded to the many comments readers posted.  Some were unsolicited advice (one of my least favorite kinds of feedback), others were words of sympathy and encouragement, and many were similar horror stories.  Because I was going through my own grieving process, I found it difficult to respond to others who were suffering as I was. Reading those comments brought up my own yucky feelings that I was still wading through (or trying to forget – depending on the day) and it was uncomfortable.  It stung.  Each new story was a reminder that I’d always look back on that day with some amount of sadness, grief, regret.  Even today, a random comment that gets posted brings it all back, just a little bit.

While responding to these comments, I found myself wanting to slip into a therapist role as I typed.  Of course, that role feels natural to me, and it also protected me because it created distance between myself and my feelings.  Now that I am much more at peace with how my wedding went and how I feel about it, reading and answering the comments is easier.  Easier, but not pain-free.

My brother made us a wonderful video from the raw footage a relative took at our wedding, and only recently did my husband and I muster up enough courage to actually watch it, almost three years after the day.  Of course it brought back some of the yucky feelings.  The grief.  But.  It also reminded me that I actually managed to have fun that day.  And the ceremony was wonderfully moving.  And I looked beautiful.  And we were so in love.  I couldn’t deny it – the proof was right there on camera!  Whew.

In all the discussion with readers about how to heal and move on from these experiences, we often talked about having a do-over.  A “corrective experience” as therapists put it.  I pictured the two of us on a beach in Hawaii with an officiant and a photographer.  No one else.  I have flowers in my hair.  The wind is whipping my white cotton sundress around.  The sun is setting.  We’re laughing and holding hands.  And no one can take away our joy.

Maybe someday.  I say maybe, because I don’t want to get too hung up on expectations.

 

What to Expect When You’re Exhausted

I’m going to need some seriously awesome suggestions for family Halloween costumes, you guys.

Cuz my seriously knocked-up self is going to be pretty huge by then, so I gotta take full advantage of this costume-wearing opportunity.

Yup, you heard me.  I’m preggers again and it hardly feels real.

Well, so far it just feels exhausting and I doubt that will change for a very, very long time.  I wish I could go back to my pregnant-for-the-first-time-self and tell her how easy she had it.  She could rest and nap whenever she wanted.  She could eat whenever she wanted.  She could watch whatever she wanted on TV, whenever.  And she didn’t have a demanding, energetic toddler to waddle after.  Ugh, this is hard.

And the scary thing is, I only see it getting harder.  How do SAHMs take care of a toddler and a newborn?  I don’t see how it’s possible, and I have no idea how I’m going to do it.

I worry about my mental health.  It’ll be winter, it’ll be cold and rainy.  I’m not going to want to go anywhere, and I’ll feel alone.

I have hope in knowing that this phase will be temporary.  That I got through it before, and I’ll get through it again.  That I have some good mommy instincts and that I have some great tools and experience under my belt that I didn’t have the first time.  That the kids will grow and change and gradually become more independent from me.  And at the same time, I don’t want to already be wishing away all the cuddly newborn snuggle time.

So there you have it- exciting and terrifying all intertwined.

But seriously – ideas for Halloween???

 

You Are My Sunshine

I had just started taking Dylan out to story time at the library on a regular basis.  He was about 2 months old, so this was about a year ago.

I get to the library late that day, which is normal.  Good thing the organizer, Shannon, always starts late.  She says we’re on “baby time,” so it’s wonderful to know that she totally gets it.

I’m still trying to learn the words and movements to all these songs we do here.  It makes me feel like I am the new kid at school and no one has given me a tour.  I kinda hum at half volume and make my mouth look like it’s forming words.  At least none of the other moms care; they’re all focused on their own babies.  Which reminds me, as I look down at Dylan- is he even enjoying this?  Is he hungry?  Did I remember to change his diaper before we left?  Oh, new song.  Hummm, humm, hummmm.

Now it’s time for the book.  You Are My Sunshine.  Ha, that’s fitting for the Pacific Northwest.  I glance outside, and it’s lightly misting.  Sigh.  All these gray days blur together.

You are my sunshine (turn the page)

My only sunshine (Ugh, I started singing too high.  I sound like crap…turn the page)

You make me happy (Aw, it’s true…turn the page)

When skies are gray (Gray like today…my eyes start pooling tears and my voice gets a little wobbly…turn the page)

You’ll never know dear (turn the page)

How much I love you (He’ll probably never know…because I don’t think I even know yet…turn the page)

Please don’t take my sunshine away (Wipe away tears from face before looking up from the book)

I look around the room through my wet lashes…Did anyone else feel that?

That overwhelming, hormonal, postpartum flood of emotion?

My tears spill over, soaking the front of my shirt and quickly saturating the carpet.  I shield Dylan’s head so it won’t get wet, but soon the room fills with salty water, like in Alice in Wonderland.

Even though he is wet, Dylan’s body stays warm, and he feels like a sack of grain in my arms and lap.  I hug him close.

His dense little body acts like an anchor for us.  He keeps us from getting tossed around in the growing waves like the other moms and babies all around.

I look up and my eyes and ears come into focus.  We’re singing a new song and everyone is back in place and bone dry.  Blink, sniff.  Hummm, hummm, hum.

I feel like I understood that song for the very first time.

When it’s all over I pack up and leave like nothing happened.

—————-

It’s day 3 of NaBloPoMo!!!!  How will I ever get through this?!

nanopoblano2015light