Have an Anxious Friend? Keep Them & They’ll Keep You Alive.


18-shared-memories.w710.h473
Photo Credit: The Cut

If you were close to me in my tween and teen years, you may remember me having a weak stomach when it came to nerves. Whether exams were coming up, a semi formal, a new crush…my anxiety would inevitably attack my insides – shooting high levels of cortisol into my system, sending my body into panic when there was no real danger. This physical chain reaction would usually lead me to being physically ill.

Some people assumed I was bulimic, others thought I had the flu a lot…and then there were my friends who knew what was really up and just went with the flow. They didn’t ask questions because they knew I had no answers. I hate my anxiety.

There are perks to knowing someone who gets bouts of anxiety though. As an anxious person, I almost always have a plan B, C, D and E. If we’re in a building and the fire alarm goes off – and there is indeed a fire, I am the person you want beside you. As you were ordering your Starbucks coffee and telling me about the crazy morning you had, I was listening while also planning escape routes out of the building should something crazy happen.

It’s just something I do. Maybe I watch the news too much. I don’t see the harm in being mentally prepared for emergency situations. Some people say I’m wasting my energy. Maybe I am, but I bet you’d follow my ass out of that building when it’s time for plan ‘B’ and you’re too panicked to think straight. You’re Welcome. 😉

When You Share Too Much


When you stir up old feelings that you don’t like to have, it’s like unloading a suitcase of old dusty things onto your bed
You won’t rest easy again until everything is sorted through, and neatly stored away again
But when you’re a mom when do you get the chance to clean up the mess in your soul?
You’re so busy making sure everyone else’s buckets are full that yours stays empty
It’s exhausting to hear the reminder that you MUST fill your own bucket (self care) when your arms are two shovels that are currently being used to fill other people
Of course you know it’s time to take care of yourself, but how? When? With what money?
When you’re home with your kids there is a guilt that’s carried around with you: any money spent on yourself is stolen from your family
What will make me feel good right now? Getting my nails done, hair done, some shopping, yoga classes, going to a book store, buying home decor items…
Sometimes none of these
Sometimes I have no idea what I like anymore

Sometimes I just need to talk
Sometimes I get into rare, deep conversations with other moms
We go deep, deeper than intended
It feels good in the moment
But later you feel a little regretful
Did I share too much?
Did I scare her away?
Did I just fill her bucket with negativity
Did I just pull her into my sadness?
Maybe
Maybe not
Maybe she feels less alone like I do when I share
Sometimes I share too much
Sometimes that’s okay ❤

®Cristina Cole

Breadcrumbs


Every once in a while you hear a song that gets right into your gut…and it shakes the emotions you’ve repressed for so long. Awakening the monster within that’s so familiar it actually brings with it a strange comfort. You’re reminded that no matter how wide your smile, how loud your laugh, or how fiercely you pretend the monster doesn’t exist – it does, and it’s never leaving.

But the same song that reminds you to keep running and never look back offers you the ammo to turn around and face the monster. To fight back and stop being a victim to its darkness. To scream like a warrior with black soot brushed along cheekbones. To raise your sword and defend the light left inside of you.

How does a stranger’s voice reach into your soul and clench the pain? How can they put into words exactly how you feel? Is it because maybe, just maybe, someone out there understands exactly what goes on inside of you when the crazy gets real? And it means that you’re not crazy. Sometimes you’re just raw – exposed – without skin. Any unintended harsh word or hurtful look from another is intensely painful. And someone out there understands this. They are singing it to you as you drive your car – the road gets slightly blurred as your eyes fill with tears.

When the song ends, you’re left feeling vulnerable, sad, validated, giddy, and raw all at the same time. A few minutes ago you were looking forward to barbeques and patio talk, clinking cutlery and the sound of summer fun – but it’s as though you’re waking up from a dream you’re fighting to remember and everything is a fog. Because the monster is awake – and you have to figure out how to fight it while smiling on the outside. It’s what being a wife and mother means sometimes: swallowing those feelings that need nurturing because you have to dig deep to find more of yourself to give to someone else.

It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time. Because it seems impossible that there is anything left. But somehow you find more and you’re able to find a breadcrumb of the woman you used to be and tuck it safely away.

I Hate You, Parenting Articles


parentiung

I read parenting advice from all different perspectives. And with each paragraph I read I shake my head and realize I’ve been doing it all wrong. At the end of the article I’m convinced that one of my children may turn out to be a serial killer. Who knows, maybe both will.

Why are there so many methods? How do I know which one will work?I believe that  all these different theories were written by people who think their own parents did it wrong. After years of trying to fix themselves they believe they’ve come up with the right way to raise a child.

I want to know how their children turned out…or better yet if they even have children. And if their children did happen to turn out to be brain surgeons or violinists or CEO’s of big companies – I’d like to know what these successful people really feel about their childhoods and how their parents raised them. I wonder if they gave me the password to their computer if I’d find a file with 52 pages of a book they’re writing about parenting and how to do it right.

I hate how these articles make me feel. I hate that I’ll always feel inadequate even when I’m doing an okay job. I hate that I question everything:

  • Did that three-day potty training week from hell scar him?
  • Is he going to marry a bitchy woman because I yell at least twice a day and he’ll find bitchy women to be comforting and familiar?
  • Will he develop a tick when he sees blueberries because of that morning we had a power struggle over eating two more blueberries before he was allowed to leave the table?
  • Will he be behind in kindergarten because he’s home with me and not in daycare like many other toddlers? He can only count to 14 and not 31, maybe I should put him in preschool twice a week.
  • Will he develop OCD because I try to pick those boogers out of his nose every chance I get?
  • If I ignore this tantrum right now will he grow up to be resentful and angry because I’m not validating his feelings?

No matter what I do I’m questioning myself, doubting every decision I make. And as if my own fears aren’t enough I read parenting articles that confirm them. The articles make it official – I’m doing it wrong. Well guess what parenting articles?

 

cat

Have a nice day 🙂

 

Unleashing My Inner Hulk


When Jacob whines, I want to grab a chair and throw it through the window. When he has a tantrum, I want to have my own tantrum too. I want to stomp and shout and cry and shriek and smack my head against the wall.

I never knew that I could feel such turmoil and violence inside of me. I feel like any second I’ll morph into The Hulk and start throwing furniture around the room. But while all these feelings are building up inside of me and my blood is reaching a hot, scolding boiling point, this is how I look:

internally screaming

I look patient and kind and understanding. Somewhere on my skull there is a throbbing, pulsing vein as I contain these feelings. They are pushed down into my gut for the time being. But they get their chance to be unleashed at the right moment. Whether it’s when I’m alone in my room and I scream into the pillow, cry while I’m showering, sob as I tell my husband about how horrible our two year old treated me today, kick the stuffed animal that’s in my path, scrub hardened food off a plate with way more pressure than needed…

There are many opportunities for me to unleash. And I never let one pass me by. Having my own little fifteen-second tantrums, while alone and out of earshot from my children, are what let me remain calm and collected during my toddler’s tantrums. I’m able to stay in a logical frame of mind – remembering that Jacob is only two and has yet to learn to control his emotions. I can stay calm and guide him through his frustration and anger, rather than react to it with my own yelling and screaming.

I also tell any moms who listen about how tantrums make me feel like my head will explode. I think it’s good for us to share these stories. It makes me feel less crazy when I know a fellow mom cries in the shower too. And better yet, I learn new unleashing techniques!

What are some of the ways you unleash after a day of listening to tantrums and whining? Let’s all help each other stay sane.  

THREE Ways This Pregnancy Is Different from the First


In case my 700+ blog followers don’t know yet, we’re PREGNANT! Before you read on, just know that I AM excited about it. The following post is just about my pregnancy this time around…and how it’s not as awesome as the first one.

Napping is Hard

When I was pregnant with Jacob and I was tired I simply got comfortable and drifted off into a nice little piece of heaven. This time around, I’m lucky if I can close my eyes for a few minutes without a matchbox car being driven over my forehead.

I Don’t Feel Like a Million Bucks

Just like my first pregnancy my skin looks great, my hair is thick and I have a nice glow. Sounds soooo terrible, right? Ha! Well during my first pregnancy I had time to pamper myself. So my nice skin could be moisturized, and I could put makeup on to accent my cheekbones and eyes. And I could style my hair into a fun messy bun, or large beachy waves.

Now I’m lucky to put chapstick on and my hair gets thrown into a ponytail. I’m too tired to try looking nice. And on the days that I want to put the effort in, my two year old decides he wants to put makeup on like mommy, and I have a bigger mess to clean.

My outfits are a joke. Track pants and sweaters are my go-to items. Fast and comfortable. In a nutshell it’s hard to feel like a million bucks these days.

I’m Not as Giddy as the First Time

Maybe it’s because I know what’s coming. Oh my, that sounds so foreboding! I don’t mean that I’m not looking forward to having a precious newborn arrive, I’m referring to the Dark Days that are the first 6 weeks post partum.

With my first pregnancy I had NO idea what to expect. I thought it would be like playing house. What a rude awakening I had. Being a first time mom was HARD! So I just feel a little overwhelmed about how much my new bundle of joy will need me, as well as how much my toddler will need me as this BIG change happens.

BUT!! This time around at least I know that it passes! I can remind myself that it’ll go by in a haze but that things WILL get better. And although it’ll feel like there is no end in sight, I will KNOW that there is because I’ve done it before and it MUST have been worth it if I’m doing it again.

How did you feel during your second pregnancy? Any tips on ways to lift myself up a bit?

Hateful Letter Written to Neighbour with Autistic Son


Below is a picture of a letter that a mother in the Durham area wrote to a neighbour with an autistic son. It’s hateful and disturbing. She did not sign her name, and police are now trying to find out who she is:

hate letter

My Response to Her Letter:

To the mother who wrote this letter:

I could write a hateful letter in response to what you’ve said to your neighbour, it would be the logical response, wouldn’t it? Instead, after thinking about it for a while and letting my own anger at your words be felt and safely put away, I would rather say: you need help.

The right thing for you to do at this moment would be to knock on your neighbour’s door, kneel down and beg for her forgiveness. Tell her you’re sorry for all the hurtful, hateful things you said. Ask her if there is anything you can do to make her life easier since you’ve probably broken her heart.

Once you’ve apologized then it’s time for you to address your anger. It’s time to ask yourself:

  • “How could I write such hurtful things?”
  • “What was I thinking?”
  • “How can I be a better person from here on out?”
  • “How can I be a better example for my own children?”

If you disagree with me and think the letter you wrote was an effective way to solve a problem, then I want you to think of this: Would you be proud to show your children that letter? Would you boast to them about how every word was written by you, their mother?

If your answer is “No”, then in your heart you must know that what you did was wrong. It was a hate crime, plain and simple.

Right now, as your letter has been exposed on social media sites and even the news, you’re probably shaking with fear that you’ll be found out. You didn’t sign your name to the letter, perhaps because what you wrote was extreme and mean. Perhaps because you feared the response you might get. Well, you’re sure getting a response now, aren’t you?

I wonder if you’re remorseful for saying the things you said or just regretful that you let your anger get the best of you; and now people will find out how ugly and mean you can be.

A lot of people want you exposed. They want a name and a face to attach to the letter. You may have thought you were being brave by writing how you truly felt. But if you were really brave you would have invited your neighbour over for a coffee and taken a risk, saying something like this:

“I feel horrible for feeling the way I do, irritated by the noise, uncomfortable because I don’t understand your grandson’s illness, so I wanted to talk to you about it. Maybe learn more about the struggles the two of you face every day, so I can be more compassionate rather than annoyed. I’m not trying to mean. I’ve just never been exposed to a situation like this before and I want to work with you so I can learn to adapt…”

Sure this still might make you seem insensitive and even selfish, but nonetheless it would make you seem human…not inhumane as you were.

Well, that’s my response to your letter. I hope you will do the right thing: be accountable. Be a better person, a better neighbour, a better mother, a better YOU.