Posted in 3rdMomof3, Surviving, Third Family

I See You!

To the mom that is bearing her soul to those on her social media, because she doesn’t have friends or family she can comfortably confide in because she has trust issues from being hurt so many times. I see you!!

To the mom at the pool on her phone checking her texts or checking her social media for 5 minutes, because this is the only time your pre-teen or teen kids have left you alone for 5 minutes in days. I see you!!

To the mom that takes the extra 5 minutes in the car with the music blaring, because you just got a text from your husband that your kids are arguing… again. I see you!!

To the mom that feels like she is a failure, because your daughter had to spend 3 months in rehab. I see you!!

To the mom that is afraid her kids will leave her, because she disciplined them or said no. I see you!!

To the mom that watches TikTok and says I can relate to that so much but is too afraid of posting it in her own words, because she will be judged. I see you!!

To the mom that says ‘yes’ to everyone but herself, because she is a people pleaser and saying ‘yes’ is the only way people will like her. I see you!!!

To the mom that craves ‘date night’ consisting of dinner and talking with her husband but doesn’t, because she fears rejection. I see you!!

To the mom that is afraid of letting your teen age daughter stay with anyone except you and your husband, because you are afraid of her relapsing and no one else knowing how to handle it. I see you!!

To the mom that has an illness that no one can visibly see and is told constantly that ‘you’re fine’ or it’s made out like it’s no big deal because someone else has the ‘same’ illness. I see you!!

To the mom that has an medical condition that affects her memory because her ex-husband used her head as a punching bag. I see you!!

To the mom that just wants to be heard have their feelings validated but won’t stand up for herself out of fear of being alone. I see you!!

To the mom that feels so overwhelmed and anxious but has made it a point to start therapy, because you finally decided you can’t do this alone and want to show your kids it’s ok to need therapy. I see you!

To the mom that fears posting this will bring judgement, but posting anyway because it may help just ONE mom feel like she’s not alone. I see you!!

Posted in Third Family

It’s Graduation Day!

Congratulations son! I am so very proud of you. You told me at the beginning of this school year and all throughout the year – “Don’t worry mom, I’ve got everything under control. I promise I will graduate!” And here we are! You kept your promise.

Your life started off so rocky. You were born into a life of turmoil and fighting. I never wanted that for you. I always promised to keep you safe. You were my saving grace, your smile is what kept me going each day. You made all the pain I felt worth it. I was keeping you safe.

You found your daddy at 3 years old. The first time you met him you had a connection with him. A connection and a bond that you and I will never experience. A bond that is between a father and a son. I have loved seeing you two on the soccer field, playing video games, him teaching you to drive, and do all the things a dad is supposed to do. It hasn’t all been sunshine and roses through the years but you two have always come back to each other. I know dad’s diagnosis was hard to take and having to see him go through what he had to go through could not have been easy. You were a positive force for both of us during our struggles this year.

You’ve been an amazing big brother. I know it’s been hard having 2 little sisters. But when push comes to shove they know you have their back. You have shown that this year with everything that our family has endured. You have really been a rock for Emma and for Madisyn. They look up to you and I know that they are proud of you.

Senior year is supposed to be the best year ever! But I know that yours was a little different. With dad being diagnosed with a tumor, having brain surgery, having a rough start to recovery, still recovering, still going through doctor’s visits & tests. And then seeing your sister go through all of her struggles and not being here for your graduation. I know you wanted her there and I know she wanted to be there. However, it warmed my heart so much when you said that you did not want to have a party to celebrate until she is able to be home with all of us.

So, you did not have the typical senior year, or a typical/normal life for that matter, but, Son… you made it! YOU did it! And you should be so proud of yourself!

I love you so big! Love, Mom

Posted in Third Family

Emma Update

I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting an update on our sweet Emma! I am happy to report she is doing AMAZING!!!

Mark and I have had 2 visitations at the residential home. The first one was a little awkward, trying to navigate all the rules and regulations. But once we got past all of that, it was a great visit. She was so eager to tell us about everything. Her grades have drastically improved! She went from failing every single class to now making A’s & B’s! She has not gotten below an 80 on any of her quizzes/tests! It warmed my heart to see her so confident. Responsibility has never been her strong suit, as I have pretty much done everything for all 3 kids since the day they were born. But, she now gets up at 5am every morning, showers, sweeps & mops her floor in her room, and gets ready for school. Along with that, she does her own laundry twice a week & even deep cleans her room. One thing she told me was that I’d be so proud, because she cleans it the way I would. She also is responsible for doing other chores at the home and seems so proud of her hard work.

The second visit was a little different. We had to pick her up the morning of the visit as she had an orthodontist appointment. So we were able to spend most of the morning/early afternoon with her. It was a little tough dropping her back off, because she wanted to go back but also wanted to spend more time with us. Thankfully we had visitation that evening. When we saw her we already could tell she was not as happy as she was earlier. She was struggling being back. So we took that time to reassure her that we are so proud of her for working so hard to accomplish her goals and ‘phasing up’ (which they have to do to be able to come home at their 90 day time). She has already phased up to Level 3. This time she had to write and read an essay in front of the staff. She said she was terrified… BUT she did it!!! By the time the visit ended she was in better spirits.

Along with visitation every other Thursday, she is able to call home once a week for 20 minutes. We look forward to this call each week because we get to hear about all of the wonderful things she is accomplishing.

Today’s call was AWESOME!!! I have not heard her genuinely laughing, (you know that cackling, belly laugh that she does) in so long! It made my heart do cartwheels! Her schooling is improving even more, they had and ‘Ice Cream Social’ that she was so hyped about – she said she even danced, the other girls taught her a few dances, she gets along so well with the staff. I could hear her laughing and joking around with her counselor (who has to be present with every phone call). She has always had a way of bonding with the adults in her life and everyone LOVES her! The director at the home pulled us aside after the first visitation and told us that Emma is awesome and she is one of his favorites. The way she just creates happiness wherever she goes makes my mom-heart smile. I just hope and pray that she now sees what we see when we are all around her. One of the best things I have seen from this time away is, Emma is starting to LOVE EMMA!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

Anxiety as a Mom & Wife

Do you ever feel like you are in a fog? Like an all day fog?

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do you can’t get ahead? Do you ever have days where every little thing makes you cringe or every small noise makes your skin crawl?

Anxiety is a REAL thing! It is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It is also one of the things that society views as a weakness. There are so many bloggers and vloggers and social media influencers that are trying to break that view. But, still we look at moms and think… “It is her job to have it all together!”

“You have an amazing life, there is no way you suffer from anxiety!” YES! I have actually been told this! Yes, I do have an amazing life! However, anxiety does not discriminate. I have 3 kids, that means 3 different schedules, 3 different personalities, 3 kids needing my attention at the same time. I also have to make sure that I make time for my husband.

There are mornings I wake up ready to start the day… then there are mornings that I wake up and hope that it’s 2 am so I can go back to sleep. I use to be the person that has to set 15 alarms and even have my husband wake me up. Now most mornings I am the first person awake (before my alarm goes off). I attribute this to my anxiety. My brain’s need for control. My body has adjusted to this need and automatically wakes itself up fearful that I have overslept and then my entire day is off track!

Over the years my anxiety has gone from mild to where I suffer daily. There are many things that are considered triggers for me, as well as ways that my anxiety manifests itself. One of those ways, unfortunately is anger. I try my best to control it, but I am far from perfect. I wish I didn’t have to apologize for being angry and ask forgiveness from the people who mean the most to me. I wish I could control it 100% of the time. I am learning to cope with my anxiety but it is an ongoing journey.

One is of my triggers is my kids. I absolutely LOVE my kids! They are my greatest accomplishments. However, they each have their own ways of triggering my anxiety. There are things that a ‘normal’ mom wouldn’t be so concerned with but I fret over daily. It could be something as small as a wet towel in their bedroom floor. Growing up I had a rough childhood that left me feeling on edge and uneasy. I never want my kids to feel that way and it pains me when I let them down. When I see my kids looking at me, almost pleading for me not to fly off the handle when they make a little mistake, it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

I also have a hard time when others (especially my husband) are critical of our kids. I take it personally and it makes me feel like a failure as a mom. I love my husband and I wake up everyday with the intention of being a perfect wife. Like I said, I am far from perfect but when I don’t reach the level of expectation I put on myself, it triggers my anxiety. The one thing that I would like for my husband to understand (well actually anyone that is involved with someone who suffers from anxiety) is when we are in the middle of an anxiety/panic attack if feels impossible to control. One of the worst things that you can say to someone having an anxiety attack is ‘calm down’… They will not ‘calm down’ they will begin to feel even worse because you’ve now made it known that there is a ‘problem’. This will just be one more thing for us to be anxious about.

Another major trigger for me is clutter. I walk into a room and I say “Ugh the house is a disaster!” My husband’s response is “The house looks great babe!” In his defense my house is very clean. However, when I see dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, pictures out of place, etc I feel very uneasy. In the 2 years that we have lived in our current house this trigger has gotten worse. I find it hard to get to sleep unless the house is almost immaculate. This goes back to my childhood, our house had to be pristine. Even the carpet had to have vacuum lines going a certain way. I was responsible for 90% of the chores/housework and the feeling of dread (now I know this as anxiety) when my parents came home from work and things were out of place it was all on me. As a mom and wife I have continued to be the one that takes care of 90% of the housework/chores and I still get that same anxious feeling when something is out of place. It is not because of what my husband and kids expect of me, it is what I expect of myself and I feel as though I am letting my family down.

I hope that my family knows how much I love them. I hope they know that when I’m acting like a complete lunatic, it’s not because I’m mad at them. In fact, most of the time what I need in those moments of anger; is compassion, a hug, some alone time or just some kind words.

I said all of that to say this, anxiety is a real thing and it is different for everyone! If you suffer from anxiety please know that you are not alone. It is nothing to be embarrassed about. If you have a loved one that suffers from anxiety, be a sounding board for them, hug them if they need a hug, take over household duties for the day, take the kids to the park or something and give your partner some alone time.

Lastly, we all need to go easier on each other. We never know exactly what someone has going on in their brain!

Posted in 3rdMomof3, Third Family

Just Say NO!

*Ring Ring*

“Hello?”

“Hey! Uhm, can you do me a favor?”

Does this sound familiar? If you are anything like me you hear this often… Why is that? Probably because you just can’t say no!

I am a ‘YES’ person. A ‘yes’ friend, a ‘yes’ mom, a ‘yes’ daughter/sister/in-law, etc. I always put myself and my needs last. Last year was a really emotional and mentally exhausting year for me. I found myself more anxious than ever, I was pulled in so many different directions. The one thing I can say when I look back on 2019 is that I did not make myself a priority. Not only did my health suffer (I had a major epileptic seizure), but my relationships suffered.

I started feeling resentful and frustrated. I was putting the needs of others before myself and sometimes before my own family. Why? Honestly I have no answer to that! All I can say is January 1, 2020 I woke up feeling different… My mindset was different. My entire outlook on my life and the direction I want it to go was different. How? I made a vow to myself that I would no longer be a ‘YES’ to everyone else person, but I would be a ‘YES’ to me person.

This includes my own children! I have always been the mom that says yes to everything… “Mom, can you take me to so and so’s house?” “Mom, I forgot my uniform can you bring it to me?” “Mom, I have a project due TOMORROW can you help me?” My answer to all of these and so many more has always been YES! I never want to see my kids disappointed or upset. But in saying yes to everything it has become expected from me and that is just not okay! Especially when there is a lack of gratitude on their part. When they started feeling entitled to hear ‘YES’ from me I decided that I created this monster, so I need to tame it before I send them out into the real ‘NO’ world!

I always say yes to friends and family. I will be the first one to come over if you’re having a bad day. The first one that will drop everything and be there! There have been times where I have been in the middle of a project or doing something with my kids that I have gotten a text, a phone call, a knock at my door, etc and I have dropped everything to be that ‘YES’ person! I love being that friend and confidant. I love being a shoulder for someone to lean on or an ear if you just need to vent. However, I have realized through the awful year we had last year that just because I am a ‘YES’ person doesn’t mean that others are. I have learned who will be in my corner & my family’s corner when we have a need.

If I don’t make myself a priority how can I really expect anyone else to? 2020 is my year to get back to the basics of who I am! I can say no to others and it is up to them to be okay with that. I can put myself first and not feel guilty!

We all have heard the saying “Just Say No (to drugs)”… Well my new slogan is “Just Say No (if it doesn’t make you happy)”!