Failure.

That word. Ever since I was young, that word was a huge part of my life. I think because of the circumstances in my life, people expected me to become one. Rather than turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with everything that happened to me, I chose the opposite. Fast forward to finding out when I was pregnant, I instantly had the fear that I would be a failure as a parent. I think that’s natural to feel that way, knowing that there’s a little life that’ll now depend on you is a tad bit scary. I went from being afraid to wanting to give my child unconditional love. I wanted my child to have the childhood that I didn’t have. I didn’t want my child to ever question my love and if I’ll always be there. I still live with the pain of having two parents who didn’t give a damn about being my parents. Luckily I ended up getting a second set of parents that actually gave a damn, but I had to wait 12 years for that. My child wasn’t ever going to have to wait.

So here I am, trying to think of ways to make my son’s third Easter fun. I look at things I purchased for his basket, I think I didn’t get him enough (I did). Then I realize something…I never took him to see the Easter Bunny. He’s gone every year since his first Easter. The plan today was to go take him to see the Easter Bunny, but due to unfortunate circumstances that didn’t happen. For his school parties, I usually make something for the class. I didn’t this time, instead I went to Dunkin Donuts and got 50 munchkins. I was too tired and burnt out to stay awake to bake brownies or cookies. Then, I saw that another mom made an Easter basket with cupcakes and instantly, I started to beat myself up for it. Then tonight, I’m busy doing a lot of things – doing the laundry, cleaning my son’s room because we’re putting his train table in there finally, taking care of my husband (he’s under the weather). It’s getting late. I never started coloring eggs with my son. The eggs weren’t even boiled yet. Crap, I’m really batting 1,000.

But we colored eggs. So maybe I’m not half bad here. Then I remembered that I never took him to see Santa. So I’m back to being an asshole parent.

Side note: My mother and aunt took him to see Santa.

I’m beating myself up for what I deem failures as a mother. I already have severe guilt that I’m a working mother, so when I can’t do something as simple as take my kid to see the Easter Bunny or bake something for his class it’s even worse. This isn’t the first time that I’ve felt this way and it certainly won’t be the last. What I realize is that my child won’t grow up and say, “When I was two, my mother didn’t bring me to see the Easter Bunny.” All of the things I didn’t do for him are things I know he won’t remember or hold against me. What he’s going to remember is how much I love him, how I try to take time every single morning during the work week just to cuddle with him before we have to leave the house for the day.

I give my son attention. I don’t ditch out on time with him. And what I mean by that is when I get home from work, my phone is nowhere in sight. When he asks me to play, I do. He’ll ask for me to read to him, and I do. He doesn’t have to act out to get me to notice him or misbehave in order for me to give him just a moment of my time. So while I continue to beat myself up for being too tired to bake for his class, I have to remember that this is what matters most. It isn’t materialistic things – if his Easter basket is two trains from Thomas that are VERY hard to find (Amazon, thank you so much), a Thomas book, and a package of Peeps, I did just fine. If I managed to get to Dunkin Donuts and still not be late for work just to make sure he had something to contribute to class, I did just fine.

With his birthday coming up, I started to feel bad that he wasn’t getting a big birthday party. We did something big for his first birthday, and we’re not doing anything like that until his fifth. You know what? He’s not going to give a crap that Mommy & Daddy didn’t spend a fortune on a birthday party for his third birthday. He’s not going to care that I didn’t slave over Pinterest ideas for hours on end just to sculpt a cake to look like Thomas the Train. Last year, I didn’t make goodie bags for his friends in school. I ordered pizza and baked a birthday cake, but I didn’t do goodie bags. Other parents do. But is he going to tell me that I failed him by not doing this? I truly doubt he ever will. Am I going to do it this year? Yes. In addition to making his birthday cake myself and not going to my more talented with baking theme cakes friend or even a bakery.

I put pressure on myself to be the perfect mom. Between working and commuting, I come home and instantly switch gears into mom mode. My husband will have dinner ready since some days, he’s home before me and juggling cooking and hanging out with our toddler. But there’s still – eat dinner, get cleaned up, bath time, story time, bed. Then after he’s asleep, it’s prepare for the next day. Get his clothes out, get his schoolbag ready, prep my lunch, take my clothes out. There are times that I fall asleep at the same time as my son and I don’t get to it. It’ll get done the next day, I just have to make sure to get up a little earlier. I don’t have to get everything done, I don’t have to burn myself out even more so. If I had the option to work earlier so that I can be home earlier than 7pm, I would take it in a heartbeat. I hate that I don’t get a whole lot of time with him as it is, but I try to make the most of the time I do have. That’s what he’ll remember. At least that’s what I hope.

Honestly,
Marie

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My walk is not your walk.

woman-walking-road

For many years, I have found a reason to say that I was mad at God. I didn’t go to church, I never really wanted to talk about my faith or what I believed. I just would say that I was angry because God took away my brother and my Grandmother, because that’s how I truly felt. I have had friends over the years that are super religious and ones that don’t believe in any form of God whatsoever. Neither end of the spectrum bothered me, in my opinion it’s not up to me to feel a certain way about someone else’s beliefs. Your feelings and beliefs are yours and yours alone. If they differ from mine, that’s just the way life goes.

My mother is a Deacon. She’s been one for quite sometime now. She would often ask me to attend church on certain days and I would begrudgingly go. I tried hard to like church and to have some sort of faith but I couldn’t do it. When I had gotten engaged, I tried again and the Pastor at the time made me feel so pressured to get married and have children quickly. He invited me to sit with other ‘planning’ couples and I was just so bothered by this that I told my mother. And it wasn’t just one letter. It was one after another because I hadn’t responded. She was very upset, because this wasn’t supposed to be the intention. Yet, it happened and I decided I wasn’t going to be forced to feel welcome in a church where the Pastor has made me feel so uncomfortable.

I don’t know if I was pregnant at the time, maybe it was early on or right before…but my mother told me that we had a new Pastor at her church. She told me that he was younger and that she knows that I’d really like him. My mother had never forced religion on me even if she had asked me to go to certain days – Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas Eve…I could do that. But not every Sunday, that was my rule. But here she was, telling me about the new Pastor and I promised her that I would go to church that following Sunday.

And that is when I decided it was time for me to figure out my faith and my walk with God.

This isn’t going to be preachy. Like I said above, your beliefs are yours and I will not judge nor try to sway you the other way. I didn’t like it being done to me and I would never put that on another person. Most people who knew me back when were a little confused to find out that I was becoming a member of Grove Reformed. “She’s into God all of a sudden?” “Since when is Marie religious?” So rather than ask questions like that, wouldn’t it make sense to ask, “What made you decide this was the direction you wanted to go in?” And you would find out that it had zero to do with anyone pressuring me and everything to do with knowing I was about to become a mother. That changed everything for me, and changed the way I looked at things.

Yes, the new Pastor had delivered a sermon that had me thinking, “He totally gets it!” and that’s where it pretty much originated – but make no mistake about it, I was walking gingerly. I was going to leave religion up to my husband, or let it be something my child does with one of his grandmothers. That was truly my intention but it didn’t last too long. I found myself regularly attending service, enjoying it, and taking a lot from the messages that the sermon was delivering. It was nice to also feel like I wasn’t being judged for prior beliefs and feelings. But I was being judged by others who didn’t believe, and others who knew the old way that I thought.

And that isn’t really fair, right? If I’m not judging them, why are they judging me?

Look. If you don’t believe in God, fine. You don’t have to. If you believe in God, fine. You don’t have to do that either. I don’t sit and preach religion, throw it in anyone’s face, or force anyone to attend church with me. It doesn’t change who I am just because I’m a member of a congregation and I believe in God. If you have your doubts about God and all things religion, don’t worry about what I will think of that. I only think it’s hypocritical if you’re out here getting ashes on Ash Wednesday and talking about giving something up for Lent when you haven’t set foot in a church in years nor practice any sort of religion. But hey, God doesn’t want me to judge and maybe I should check myself.

Just know that my walk in life is not yours. Yours is not mine. You believe what you believe, and I will do the same.

Honestly,
Marie

Are you a label reader?

Years ago, I would have never thought to read a label at the grocery store. It just never occurred to me to do so, and I continued to purchase and live in a complete state of oblivion. Fast forward to present day, where I am a label reader and product researcher. I read all labels – from foods to toilet paper. If there’s a product that is being raved about or something my friends are selling, I will do extensive research on it. I’m not a flash in the pan, strike while the iron is hot consumer. I will continue to do as much research as possible, read testimonials and see if anyone I know personally has experience with whatever the product might be.

Part of my reasoning for going this extra mile is for my son. I want him to be a healthy little dude; he was born a bit over a month early. He was on breathing apparatus for awhile and was in the NICU for a week (and maybe plus one day – it’s a fog to me now). While some mothers may say that I’m obsessive or insane, I say that I’m just taking proper precautions. Unfortunately, other mothers feel that they have a say in what I choose to do for my child’s well being. Remember: what works for you may not work for somebody else. You don’t know their situation. After downloading the Think Dirty app, I felt like I had failed in my label reading and extensive research. The product I have been using on my son since infancy is full of chemicals and for lack of better word…dirty. And it’s a product that I thought was supposed to be good for you – maybe it’s the price point that made me believe that. I fully intend on doing an overhaul on the products that I use for him – his health and well being is my priority.

Another part of my reasoning is because of my own health. I have a thyroid disease. There are certain additives in food that make my thyroid go nuts and not in a good way. There are foods that I need to avoid completely and foods that I need to limit. I don’t eat a lot anymore, seldom am I eating sugary things or snacking late at night on junk food. I’m not starving myself, I’m just becoming better with what I eat, what my portions are, and reading those labels! This goes back to when it came time to start thinking about what he should bring to school for lunch. Do you know how much crap is in a Lunchable?! Seems like it’s an easy option, right? Easy, yet full of sodium. Sodium, sugar, carbohydrates – all things that I need to be careful of because of my thyroid. So if I’m not eating it, my child certainly isn’t. Unless his father is in charge. Or a grandparent. But lucky me! My child LOVES fruits and vegetables. FRESH fruits and veggies! He makes grocery shopping easy, I know just what to get for him. And for myself, I read labels and ask my doctor questions. I’ve lost ten pounds. Not working out. Not starving myself. Eating the right portions, the right foods, not snacking late at night, hardly anything sugary, and oh hey, water. Usually with peppermint essential oil because it helps with bloat, or lemon essential oil because it detoxifies and curbs those cravings.

When it comes to my husband, he’s a skeptic on all of these things. We read a book that was written by a MS patient who said that going gluten free helped him big time with his battle. I told my husband that I would go gluten free in solidarity with him and he said no. He refuses to do it, even if it may benefit his health. My husband has lost a ton of weight – between a new job that keeps him active, not eating take out for lunch every day, and him trusting me with incorporating new and healthier alternatives into our meals…he looks terrific. But his weight loss doesn’t mean his MS has gone away. If only it were so simple, I keep telling myself. But I also try to read up on things that can help him, too. He might not be a label person, but when I can ‘show him the light’ so to speak, I will. Part of my journey with essential oils is because of him, and how I’ve read how beneficial it can be to MS patients. It’s not a cure, let me get that out of the way. It’s only going to support his wellness and keep his aches and pains to a bare minimum.

The foods we eat, the shampoo we use, the products we clean our home with – I have gotten a little manic about it because that’s me being Mama Bear. I also want to feel good as well as look good. I have a new regimen at nighttime – from washing my face to rubbing coconut oil on the bottom of my feet, it takes me about 15 minutes to do all of this before I get into bed. It’s a process, it’s a little bit of a long road and sometimes not very cheap but I know in the end I’m doing what’s best. Remember: what’s good for me might not be good for you, so do your research!

Honestly,
Marie

Nope.

No matter how many notifications my pharmacy sent me to go pick up my meds, I let it fall to the back burner. And now I am paying the price, so to speak. I went to therapy on Thursday and told my therapist that I was having a really good week. I discussed how bad I felt that sometimes, my husband’s quirks annoy me. I told him that I often wondered if I made a mistake on choosing sociology over something else in college, and if I chose something else if I’d be in a better position to work from home and spend more time with my kiddo. I left feeling pretty good, getting it all off of my chest. And something changed on Friday where I shifted into this shell of myself. My anxiety triggered big time as we celebrated a co-worker’s pregnancy. I knew that this was going to be a difficult weekend for me.

Because I forgot to pick up my medicine, and I still forgot to ask my husband to pick it up for me on Saturday on his way home from work. And here I am.

I’m on day three without my full Zoloft dosage. I woke up this morning around 9, my child was still asleep. Church starts at 10:45, and my husband is doing audio this week so he had to be there. I asked him to please go without me, I just can’t bring myself to get out of the house today and be around people. Kiddo decided that he wanted to stay home with me. I get nervous at times like this because I have lost my patience with him when my anxiety is this bad. But we’re doing okay this morning. I’m allowing him to have more tablet time than usual. And now he’s decided he just wants to play with his new toys and I’m more than okay just listening to his imagination soar while he creates scenarios with Lightning McQueen and Mater.

I know at some point today I’ll start feeling better. It may not be easy, but I know that I’ll get there.

I’m just tapped out.

On Inauguration Day, I had my usual therapist appointment. I didn’t know what I’d discuss, but throughout the morning I had gotten into a battle of words with someone who told me to ‘get over it’ that Trump is elected into office. It rubs me the wrong way for several reasons, one being the fact that for eight years, the same people telling me to ‘get over it’ are the same folks that couldn’t get over it with Obama. I defended myself. I never told anyone for eight years to get over it, so why am I being told? Because my opinion differs? Why are people telling me how to feel and think? I was frustrated by the time I got to my therapist’s office. The second I sat down, he asked me how I’m doing and then came the tears.

And they didn’t stop.

For 45 minutes.

They didn’t stop.

Without getting into exactly what I had said to him, I will let you know that the topic was political. After I left his office, I walked back to work. I sat and lamented for the rest of the day. Maybe it was the day after or two days later, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I just couldn’t keep posting rant after rant on Facebook about the current political climate. It was exhausting. It wasn’t doing my anxiety any good, and it certainly wasn’t helping my depression any. I was being nasty to everyone for the most part, lashing out and definitely not being a good version of myself. My poor mother was recovering from surgery and I snapped at her…she didn’t do anything wrong!

So I began to post things on Facebook to tilt the scales a little. Tell me something positive about today, here’s some baby giraffes, share a link to your Jamberry/Perfectly Posh/Young Living business so hopefully you can have more success, look at how cute my kid is, ooh look at pandas going down a park slide! I started to unfollow people from my feed that couldn’t talk about anything else but what’s going on in our country – and I’m not talking about people posting personal opinions. I’m talking about people who would just mindlessly share a link without fact checking, or sharing a link just to see how many people can fight with one another. Then there were the hypocrites that complained about political posts, then continued to make them and post links and memes. Rather than tell them how to post and what to post, I decided to just unfollow. While there are still posts on my timeline, they aren’t ones that flare up my anxiety.

But Twitter. Twitter, you saucy minx.

I kept political talk on Twitter. I got into it with a lot of people, have been told I hate white people because I defend Black Lives Matter, called a terrorist because I don’t believe that all Muslims are part of ISIS. I know a lot of people that voted Trump. I know a lot of people that are registered Republicans. I can’t judge them because that’s being hypocritical. And I will admit here and now that over the course of two weeks, I’ve made some pretty hypocritical statements myself and I’m not proud of it. But I acknowledge where I had gone wrong and after thinking it through this morning – I have to tap out of political chat on Twitter. It’s easier to miss tweets because I’m working all day or chasing a toddler around the house. If something gets my anxiety flared up, I simply unfollow or mute.

I just cannot keep doing this to myself. It’s exhausting, it’s making me a complete shell of myself. I don’t want to be hypocritical. I don’t want to be one of those angry liberals who shouts at everyone who doesn’t think and feel the same way as I do. I didn’t even behave this way during Obama’s terms, and I shouldn’t start doing that now. So this is how I prevent being that person.

The great thing about social media is that you really CAN control what you see and what you don’t see. You can also disagree with someone else on the internet and simply move on with your life.

Kudos to those who are still going and tweeting and posting all about the political climate. I don’t damn anyone for continuing to talk, speak out and be heard. But my mental health and current state of mind is not conducive to living a healthy life for myself, my husband and my son. I have to take care of myself.

Honestly,
Marie

On the Eve Of…

Tomorrow is my 37th birthday. I can’t say that I’m excited or happy about it, but I also can’t say that I’m not. In the past, I’ve had a very bad relationship with my birthday. No matter how many times I’ve tried to make my birthday a positive thing – something always happened to make it pretty miserable. Last year, I enjoyed my birthday. The year before that, I enjoyed my birthday. The trend? Being a mom. I’ve had something to look forward to every single year now – my child’s adorable face and unconditional love.

I stopped being that person that has plans for their birthday – where you invite everyone to a bar and pretend like you actually can stand that person for more than just an hour at a time. I just don’t care all too much to celebrate my birthday like that anymore. I would much rather be with my family. I would much rather have something very low key where I can be relaxed and not always have to be ‘on.’ I don’t want to deal with drama that comes with planning things because one friend doesn’t like the other, etc. I don’t want to hurt two friends of mine by inviting one and not the other and I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable so I just don’t do it anymore. That’s not the main reason, but it’s definitely a bit of a contributing factor. See how I’m putting others over myself on my own birthday? Yeah, I’m probably an idiot for doing so.

But I digress, big gatherings are just not my thing anymore. I suffer from anxiety to the point where I am exhausted if I have to be amongst people for a long period of time. I had three days of sales meetings a couple of weeks ago, and I was totally drained at the end because I had to always be ‘on.’ It’s tiring being in my head all day. Sometimes, I want to just go on vacation and leave my body here so that it’s just a body in a chair. If we’re really keeping it a buck, I’m like that a lot of the time because of the mess my own head is.

So with my birthday coming in less than twelve hours, I sit here thinking about the birthdays I had when I was a young child, teenager, younger adult, and now…wife and mother. Everything changes but in the best way possible. I don’t have ridiculous birthday demands, I don’t want to do anything but just exist and not have to entertain. I don’t fear the age thing. Turning 37 doesn’t scare me. I’m happy to be in my ‘late 30s’ now. I still get carded for wine, I still look fairly young. My health is getting better, I’m down four pounds in two weeks. It’s never been something I have gotten upset over, not even when my husband attempts to say that I’m old while forgetting that he’s already 40. Note: to me, 40 is not old.

I’ve come a long way. I’ve made so many changes to my life, strides to become a better human being. I’ve changed my way of thinking, and how I don’t let things upset me anymore because it’s not worth it. I am lucky. I am very happy. I have a great husband and son, the best family in the world, and the best friends. I want for nothing. Maybe hugs because I am like Olaf from Frozen and I love hugs…but nothing materialistic. And coffee. Always coffee. I don’t need to blow out candles and make a wish for anything, because I already have everything that I could have ever asked for in life. Even Hamilton tickets.

Honestly,
Marie

That kind of day.

It’s been a busy week for me. I didn’t see my son for three days. I missed him terribly. I read to him last night, tucked him in, kissed him goodnight. Got him ready this morning, brought him to school. He’s staying with my parents tonight since they’re taking him to Breakfast with Santa early in the morning. That isn’t the cause of what I’m feeling today. Truth is, I have no idea what the cause of it is because there isn’t one.

I don’t feel good today. Physically, sure. I’m fine. I don’t feel sick. I don’t feel like I’m coming down with a cold. I just don’t feel good emotionally. I’ve spent the majority of my day in a dark, dark place. At least I have therapy later on today, which usually helps pull me out from under.

It’s not holiday blues, I love the holiday season.

Maybe it’s a combination of things. I miss my husband, he works six days a week and we barely get time together without falling asleep on one another. I miss my best friends – two of which don’t live in the same state as I do, the other does but she’s got a busy life. I worry about my mother. I worry about my father. I miss my youngest brother, he’s coming home for Christmas and I may not let him leave. These are my normal feelings though, I go through these motions daily. So maybe that’s not it.

Maybe there doesn’t need to be a reason where I just feel this way.