#AnxietyAndMess

Can i just go ahead and apologize right off the bat? I am so sorry. Every time I get on here and blog, I say that I’ll be back soon. I say that I’ll really get back to writing more often. I say that it’s been too long. Every time I say those things, I truly do mean them. If you’re a mom, you get it. If you’re a dad, you probably get it. If you’re just a normal human being that understands that life and things get in the way sometimes, you totally understand where I’m coming from.

Internet….. glorious, glorious high-speed internet! I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am to have WiFi blazing throughout my house again. We’ve been without it for months. Yeah, I know, #FirstWorldProblems But when dang near everything in your house runs off internet or you can’t find a DVD of Boss Baby or The Smurf’s anywhere and they’re your kids favorite movies ((EVER!!!)) so your ability to sleep hinges on being able to watch these movies at some point, internet becomes a necessity. Is it more important than lights, water, a house to live in or food? No, absolutely not. Hence why we’ve been without it for months. Until now!

Sometimes life turns everything upside down. Sometimes what you’re used to becomes something you miss. Honestly, yes, I missed having the ability to sit here at 4am and write a blog post from my laptop (because I really cannot do all this from a smartphone) but not doing so didn’t kill me. Obviously. I’m still here to write and post this tonight. So what else could I live without and be perfectly fine?

I look around my house and I cannot believe how two people can acquire so much junk in the course of 6 years. Then I see all the toys. 2 kids. 80 bajillion toys. Half of them don’t get played with. Lots of Big Kid’s toys are much too young for him. But for some reason, I can’t seem to let them go. There is so much clutter absolutely everywhere. How any one of us functions in the middle of all this chaos, I don’t understand. And no matter how much I clean, it all becomes this huge mess again because there’s so much other junk to pull out and mess with whenever the first round is put away. Big Kid is on the autism spectrum so for him, all this clutter is an even bigger issue. I love organization. My OCD self thrives on it. And even though there is mess, a lot of it is an organized mess. But what in the world would I do if there wasn’t so much clutter, so much junk and everything was just organized?!

For a split second, let me deviate. This mess that is my house spills over into my life like a glass too-full of milk that I would then cry for hours over. Anxiety and I fight every single day, all day, from the time I open my eyes until either it or my brain finally gives up at whatever wee morning hour they choose. We are not friends. We are not enemies. Anxiety and I walk side by side, in step with each other. Sometimes anxiety runs ahead of me and blocks my path. Sometimes it lags behind and lets me breathe. Most of the day, every day, it is a gnawing pit in my stomach, a raging, stormy sea in my head, waiting to crash the shores of my skin and eyes, breaking free in sweat and tears. When there’s absolutely no reason to be anxious at all, to feel the weight that Atlas feels, carrying the world on his shoulders, come crashing down on my chest as if the supports of his elbows have crumbled into a million tiny pieces. Knowing that no one can help you because you can’t even help yourself. Telling yourself that you’re being irrational when everything inside you screams that this is all real and there’s everything to fear. Anxiety traps me in this house but this house feels too small and I have to get out but it blocks the door and glues me to the couch so that I can’t make any of it any better. I paste on a fake smile to show the world that I’m fine but as far as the East is from the West is the distance between fine and me. To everyone else, I look fine. I look happy. That comes from years of sparring practice with Anxiety. I fight like hell to not be weak when every fiber shouts, “Don’t be strong!!!” Anxiety tells me I’ll never be enough. Some days I’m not. But I fight every day to be a Spartan warrior, kicking anxiety into the pit. Most days, I win.

So here’s my plan. It may sound completely asinine but it’s what I’m going to have to do in order to get this under control and take my life back. I want to rent a storage unit for a couple of months. I want to box up literally everything that is non-essential. I want to put all the non-essentials into storage and deep clean my entire house. I’m talking, top to bottom. Ceilings to baseboards, scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees. Then, I want to bring back two boxes at a time. Go through each box and get rid of, give away, throw away whatever we don’t truly need. Even if all I do is go room by room. I just need a great big purge. Big Kid needs a safe space that’s all his, a place he doesn’t have to share at all. He needs an organized room, free of clutter, not an organized mess. LadyBug needs to grow up without an excess of stuff that isn’t really needed. I’m not trying to be minimalist, I just need less chaos. Am I nuts? Maybe. That’s okay.

Next time…. it won’t be months…. it won’t be 4am…. I’ll see you very soon….. But until then…..

I’ll CleanCookSleepRepeat….

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#InAllNonSeriousness

Because I just can’t be super serious all the time…..

Hummingbirds are rude. I have one male that frequents my feeder. By “frequents” I mean he sits in the tree across the street and watches it all day long only to then chase off every other hummingbird that tries to fill their bellies. This feeder has PLENTY of food in it. I make it myself. It has plenty of fake, plastic flowers on it for them all to eat from. Nevertheless, Fred persists. Yes, I named him. Yes, his name is Fred. No, there is no specific reasoning behind this, it’s just what popped into my head as he was chasing off a female for the FIFTH time one morning. Sometimes we have 4 hummingbirds fighting with each other over the food. I’ve gotten a second feeder and I’ve offered it to them as a sign that I am here to make peace within the families. Maybe they’ll allow me to remain on my porch. Their favorite pastime is flying at my face in groups of two or three, chirping all the while. Never knew they were so noisy.

Have you ever woken up at 3 in the morning, unable to go back to sleep? And by 9, realize that you’ve had all this extra time to have gotten a HUGE jumpstart on your day yet the most you’ve done is catch up on shows on your DVR? Is that just me? Okay, so I’ve actually done more than veg out in front of the TV. I’ve dreamed at least 6 impossible things and I still haven’t had breakfast. Alice would be proud. Granted, the 6 impossible things involved Pinterest and my lack of artistic ability but I digress. I have gotten a few e-mails sent and I’ve blogged. I’ve taken care of my daughter and my animals. I’ve party planned for my son’s 7th birthday. Okay, so maybe I have been semi-productive. But I also watched The Resident and Manifest. Falling asleep at 10pm with the lights on apparently leads to this craziness because this has happened to me multiple times in the last week or so. Although, I usually at least go back to sleep for a little while. Hah! Not todayyyy!

Today it’s just me and the little munchkin so far. I very much so need to make it to a craft store to get plastic animal eyeballs for a stuffed baby Groot I’m crocheting for my husband. Big Kid should eventually be coming home from his Grams’ house and then the fun begins. Sifting through all the toys in his room and cleaning up and out. His birthday is at the end of this month so we must make room for new things! Not that he fully comprehends this and his OCD doesn’t quite allow for cleaning out toys he hasn’t touched in 4 years but hey, we’re going to try.

On tap for today is to clean the top of the stove, scrub out at least one of the ovens, get rid of the decaying fruit that’s hiding somewhere in my kitchen, causing a horrible stench to permeate my nostrils when I step near the kitchen, and actually load and start the dishwasher. Am I the only one who hates dishes more than any other household chore? Give me tons and tons of laundry. I’ll do it all day long. Really, I’ll scrub toilets over having to do dishes. I don’t know what it is but I hate it. If I could hire someone to come in and do my dishes, I would. This includes loading the dishwasher. I mean, I don’t have to wash everything by hand. I have a dishwasher. It does the work for me. You would think that would be enough and I wouldn’t mind but nooooo. Something about it just… ugh. And my husband is notorious for using a million different things when he cooks. Yes, he cooks, hold onto your hats. But he doesn’t clean up after himself! Now, you may be saying, “If he cooks, you can clean up.” Yes, I can agree with you on that. To an extent. A) He doesn’t clean up after I cook, B) When I cook, I clean up after myself as I go along, making it much easier to clean up after the cooking is over, and C) I clean the entire rest of the house as well plus take care of the kids and animals and him, can’t he clean up his own mess after he cooks? 😉 I say all this knowing that as soon as I hit publish and head inside, I’ll be going straight to the kitchen to find the source of the smell and eliminating it then carrying out trash and finally cleaning up his mess. So while I can talk a big game, I still end up cleaning up after him anyway.

Of course, before any of that can take place, I must now answer the call of my daughter’s people and insure that she is well fed before she finally gives up her never-ending battle with sleep and succumbs to the wonderful land of dreams. One day, probably in the very distant future, she will be all grown up and wishing that she could sleep and I will remind her of the months she spent fighting sleep as if her life depended on it. All this time she could’ve spent sleeping, wasted on the desire to not miss watching Momma clean, cook, sleep and repeat……

yep, that’s the end. Bye y’all!

#LiftHerUp

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? When you don’t know what to say? Today, there are so many things on my mind. I have so much to do, so much going on, so many things to figure out, so many appointments all spread out for the kids, trying to get something done for myself so that I don’t constantly feel like crap. Besides all the things going on in my own life, my best friend is going through something that I can’t fix for her. I’m two hours away from her and all I can do is be a voice on a phone to give her feedback, lift her up, remind her of what she’s worth and to shut my mouth and listen when she needs it. I can’t hug her. I can’t hold her hand through everything. And all at the same time, I have to let her make her own decisions and support her no matter what. I can’t tell her how to live her life, what choices to make or what to do next. Today isn’t going to be quirky or witty or funny. I just don’t have it in me right now.

Speaking to the ladies, because I’m not a dude, lift each other up. This world is nuts. Things are happening all around us all the time. We never know if the woman we pass in the aisle at the grocery store who looks like she’s worn the same thing for the last three days is in the middle of a divorce and confused or depressed or actually might be extremely happy to be getting out of the situation she’s been in. We don’t know that her soon-to-be-ex isn’t calling her constantly, keeping her up at night, threatening her, trying to scare her into coming back. We don’t know if she’s living in her car right now just so that she doesn’t have to be in the same house with him because she’s scared of what he might do. That woman we pass with bags under her eyes might be laying awake at night, worried about her kids because one was just diagnosed with autism and she hasn’t accepted it yet. That woman we pass who obviously hasn’t brushed her hair in a week might be working on the weekends, going to college during the week and sleeping never. That woman we pass who looks like she has it all together with her manicured nails and her hair in that perfect style and her nice clothes on may be getting out of her house for the first time in a month because she’s battled crippling anxiety and depression and this is the first time she’s felt human in a long time. That woman with the kids who are exceptionally loud in the store might be smiling, while you scowl, at the noise because her children are happy after a week’s worth of meltdowns and not being able to leave the house. That woman who looks like she just can’t take any more really might not be able to take any more. Ladies, be kind.

In the South, we grow up hearing, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” A lot of parents don’t teach that anymore. They lead by bad examples. They pass judgment on people, those ladies in the grocery store aisles, without knowing their stories. I realize that the world’s problems won’t be solved by telling the woman in the checkout line that her screaming kids are blessings even though she looks like they’re about to make her pull her hair out but would it hurt to be kind rather than hateful?

Recently, while at a store, my son who is Deaf+ (meaning, he has something else going on besides his Deaf gain; most likely a spectrum disorder but not determined which yet) was having a rough day, He had been having a rough few days with lots of stimming and chewing on things and tip-toe walking and OCD sequencing. He was chewing on the handle of the shopping cart and when told not to, he had a mini meltdown. This resulted in a VERY loud negative vocalization, that echoed off the store walls, to let me know that he was displeased. Understandably so, this made a couple of people jump. Rather than anyone asking if everything was okay or showing any kind of concern for the fact that my almost 7 year old was now in a ball on my lap in the floor of this store, I heard a couple of people make comments such as, “Good God, what great parenting,” and, “that kid needs help, maybe you should get him some.” Now, thankfully, the Deaf part of Deaf= means that my son didn’t hear that. But I did. I instantly was angry. I kept my mouth shut and took care of my son, hugging him tightly and wiping the tears from his face as he squeezed his eyes shut and continued to vocalize, quieter. As we got under control, he began OCD sequencing which looks like scratching behind one ear, then the top of his hand, then behind the other ear, the back of his head, his stomach, under one arm, under the other arm and ending at the top of his head again. We stood up, we talked, in ASL, about why chewing wasn’t okay. He continued to sequence as we walked down another aisle. People stared. Some with disgusted looks. Others seemed genuinely concerned. No one asked questions. Had someone stepped over to us while we were in the floor and asked if he was okay, I would have had no issue saying that he was having a meltdown, we’ll be fine in a moment and everyone could’ve moved on about their day. But hearing that I’m a bad parent for dealing with an unforeseen incident in the middle of a store, hurts. I love my kid. I love all of his quirks. I love all of the things that make him who he is. Not everyone has to love it. But no one HAS to be rude. You never know what someone else is going through.

That man who said I needed to get my kid some help has no idea that I’ve been trying desperately to find someone who will do a psychological evaluation with an interpreter for my son. He has no idea that I’ve known that something was going on for years but doctors make you wait. He has no idea that I am awake night after night, researching and trying to plan out our days in ways that will hopefully not cause meltdowns. He has no idea that we’re still figuring this out and that some days certain things cause problems and other days it’s something brand new that we’ve never encountered. He has no idea that my child had to go to the doctor three days before and that stressful situation has caused him problems but keeping him locked up inside the house makes it worse. That woman who questioned my parenting doesn’t realize that I give my all to my kids. She doesn’t know that I wake up at 6am every day and feed my daughter then make sure that the plan I made last night will still work well for the day. She doesn’t know that I try three or four different breakfast foods with my son before finding one that he’s willing to eat today or that he might be on the 9th day in a row of eating the same thing at every meal. She has no clue that I worry constantly if I’m doing the right things. She doesn’t know that I spend all day taking care of my kids, my home, the errands, homeschool my son, care for our animals, do things for my husband, and once everyone is in bed, I work on my plans for the next day, lesson plans, and I’m going to college online. Can I say it again? You never know what someone else is going through.

Maybe this touches your heart today because you can relate on the side of being judged. Maybe this touches your heart today because you do the judging. Maybe a little bit of both. Either way, remember to be kind. Smile at a mom today who looks like she’s having a rough month. Say something nice to someone. Hug your best friend. Send a text to someone important in your life and remind them that they are awesome! Kindness might not solve all the worlds problems but it sure couldn’t hurt.

Until next time…

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep, Repeat.

#OhYoureTHATMom

Yes, yes I am. I’m that Mom who has sat here and written and rewritten the beginning of this blog multiple times. I’m that Mom who has let the laundry sit in the washer for two days. I’m that Mom who has ordered pizza when I should’ve cooked. I’m also that Mom who has spent every morning on the phone with one doctor or the other or trying to get in touch with the Director of Special Services. I’m that Mom who is fed up with non-answers and no responses. I’m that Mom who has put my face directly in front of these people to get what my son needs. Yeah, I’m THAT Mom.

While things inside the house might slide a little bit, when it comes to what my kids need, I will go to the ends of the Earth to make sure they get it. Babygirl is on-deck for an appointment with an ENT to have an Audio Brainstem Response test scheduled to find out whether or not she actually is hard of hearing like her sound booth testing is showing.  Kiddo is scheduled with the same ENT on the same day because he’s never seen one before. I was never informed that it was something we were supposed to do. He has fluid on both of his ears which is causing middle-ear dysfunction. So now we get to take care of that in a few weeks. On top of this, I’m trying desperately to get him into a place nearby that can handle a Deaf patient for a psychological evaluation to see where he falls on the spectrum. The new audiologist we saw last week asked if he had been diagnosed with a Spectrum Disorder within 2 minutes of meeting him for the first time.

See, here’s the thing… Kiddo’s entire life has been silence. For him, at least. For us, he’s been very loud. And that’s perfectly okay. We’re all used to it. Our lives have been one big adjustment. We adjusted when we found out he was deaf and we started learning sign language. We adjusted when he wore hearing aids and went through speech therapy. We adjusted when his Deaf gain was more than the aids could keep up with and he didn’t want to wear them anymore. We have learned more sign language, adjusted the way we homeschool and I’ve come to terms with the fact that he needs more help than what is within my capabilities. I am not a licensed professional counselor. I am not licensed in occupational therapy. I do not have the medical/educational background to help him in the ways that others can. But getting these services for him? I never thought it would be this difficult. We go through testing in sound booth last week, without an interpreter, me sitting in the floor, trying to interpret for him and also have a conversation with the audiologist which means, he loses access to the language around him because I can’t English and ASL at the same time. He doesn’t talk much. He responds to the sounds he can hear and says he hurt his leg. He says, “Yes” from time to time when he hears a sound. He tells them bye and says “I love you” because this is what he says to everyone when he leaves their company. I’m told yesterday in a phone call with this audiologist who, again, has met him once and observed him for less than an hour in a somewhat stressful situation where he was exhibiting exacerbated behavior of someone on the autism spectrum because, stress and new people, this woman tells me that he has no language. No. Language. She says because she only saw him sign 3 words that he isn’t fluent enough to be evaluated by a psychologist with an interpreter present since he has no language and what the interpreter says will be things he’s never been exposed to and he won’t understand. But couldn’t give me an example because she said, “They’re so tight-lipped about it, I don’t know what they would ask.” But you know well enough to tell me that my kid, that you don’t know has an extremely extensive vocabulary and will talk your dang head off for hours, has no language? And doesn’t need an interpreter?! No. He WILL have access to HIS language. Period. You can’t stop me, lady. And you won’t. Interpreters at all appointments, everywhere.

I’m not in denial that something is going on with my kid. I want validation that what I’ve thought for this many years was, indeed, correct. I want it documented, on paper, so that he gets ALL the right resources that he NEEDS in order for his education and his life development to flourish. I want what’s best for my kid. I will not stop until I get what’s best for my kid. No matter where that takes us or how many appointments we have to make or how many times I have to defend my child’s right to language access.

School has been in session for nearly a month and I can’t get the one person I HAVE to talk to at Special Services to call or e-mail me back. 5 e-mails, 4 phone calls. Not a word from her. Tuesday, I will be in her office, showing my face. God help me, hopefully not my butt also. I’ll keep my cool. Because Momma always says you catch more flies with honey. There’s so much more to all of this but I honestly can’t even start to process it all in order to write it all out. Just know that if you were to ever pass me in the street, yes, I am THAT Mom. The one whose hair is up in a ponytail and is probably wearing the same shirt from the day before (or the day before that) but don’t worry your pretty little head about whether my kids are taken care of or not. I will fight for them until the end of time. If you’re THAT Mom too, I salute you! Here’s to us! Giant coffees all around!

Til next time….

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep and Repeat….

#3AMWeMeetAgain

Here we go again…….. but let’s talk about something different tonight.

It’s almost the 4th of July. Independence Day. We celebrate with BBQ and Fireworks and fun with friends and family, right? Well, I would imagine that lots of places, people start celebrating with, at least, fireworks early. They definitely do here. Our town has this thing called Freedom Fest which is normally held the last Friday night in June. For the last 6 years, Big Kid hasn’t heard the fireworks. He hasn’t really even noticed them unless I take him outside to watch. And every year, I do. You can see them extremely well as we live across a field from the place where the festivities are held. This year was extremely different.

Two cats who aren’t fans of loud noises. Two dogs who seem to feel physical pain from the extremely loud booming sounds. My Deafie who, for the first time, noticeably felt the vibrations from the booms. And for the first time ever, a kid who was actually disturbed by the sound. This was a first experience for both Babygirl and me. She got freaked out and started to cry, hearing he unexpected loud pops and bangs from the fireworks. Big Kid asked, “what feel what?! Ground shake! What that? Big monster? Big dinosaur? Shake!!!” I shook my head, signed, “you feel? Fireworks. Everything okay. Want go outside see fireworks?” He signed an emphatic, “yes!” And out we went. Wrapped Babygirl in a blanket to lessen the risk of mosquito bites and, oh my goodness.

She jumped at every pop. He wowed at every colorful light in the sky. He loves watching them. But my first ever experience with a hearing kid and fireworks was still quite interesting. The echoes from the booms rolled down our street and her head turned to follow the sound. I’ve never seen that before. Big Kids hands were flying! “Wow! Awesome! Mom look! What sign? Stars? No. Fireworks! Colors! Wow! Many colors!!!! Shake ground! Shake me! Feel!” Babygirl just looked in awe. She watched her brother sign then watched the sky. She watched the dark street as the noise kept rolling, over and over again. She seemed so confused. I was in awe, myself. Watching a hearing kid react to fireworks. It’s so funny to me how similar they are and yet so different.

So many things are so different. And honestly, I was terrified of having a hearing kid because I had no idea how to navigate life with one. I will say that things have had to be much quieter. I can no longer vacuum at 2:30AM. And naptime during the day means Big Kid and I are voice off ((and voice off for him simply means no yelling)) and must play quietly so as not to wake sleeping beauty who requires her sleep to keep the monster baby at bay. Hah. Life with a Deafie is amazing. Life with a hearing kid is amazing. Life with both? Off the charts!

Also… learn ASL… at least a few signs. One, it’s a beautiful language. Two, meeting people, anyone, who know sign language, is amazing for my kiddo and me as well. There are many websites to learn from. Lifeprint.com, Signitasl.net, aslpro.com… just to name a few.

It’s now just a few short minutes away from 4AM and I’m finally starting to get sleepy enough that I might actually be able to fall asleep!

Oh!!!! I have a story to tell tomorrow about something that happened today but I really don’t think I can keep my eyes open long enough to tell it tonight/this morning! Yes. Must tell. Will tell. Tomorrow. Or later today. Whatever you want to say. Goodnight. Momma sleepy.

Until tomorrow…

I’ll CleanCookSleep(Finally)Repeat!

#LetsGetReal

How about we get a little real today? As I start this installment of the blog, it’s 3AM. Babygirl will be up in roughly 3-5 hours and there are ZERO signs of sleep coming soon for me, regardless of the fact that my body is utterly exhausted. I can NOT sleep. I have been up since about 7:45 yesterday morning ((both kiddos slept in, PRAISE JESUS!, but still….. Mr. Sandman decided dream were not for me. For a moment, I’d like to discuss why. Mostly because it’s irritating and I need to vent. But also because I am absolutely positive that some of you, somewhere out there, can relate.

It goes by many names; Shark Week, That Time Of The Month, Aunt Flow’s Visit, Period Week, Lady Business, Mother Nature’s Gift, Carrie, etc…… There are lists all over the internet.  It sucks. The whole week is just shot. You want to do so many things but you either don’t have the energy or you can’t hold yourself together long enough. Post-baby periods have GOT to be the worst. They last longer, they hurt more, they give you brand new symptoms that you don’t remember having pre-pregnancy, I’m experiencing one of those symptoms that was not a normal Shark Week indicator prior to Babygirl; insomnia. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve dealt with insomnia for years. but it was never in conjunction with this particular week of the month, For the last 5 months now, two days before and all throughout the 8 DAYS THAT THIS HAS EXTENDED, I cannot sleep. No matter how early I wake up. No matter how exhausting my day is. No matter how little caffeine I drink. Nothing. Helps. Anybody else deal with this? Anyone have any tips on how in the world to beat it? Add to this the fact that I have RLS ((Restless Leg Syndrome)) and it now worsens around this time and that just makes trying to fall asleep even worse. Really…. Eve…. why did you have to eat the apple??? WHY?!?!? ((Yes, I know, not really an apple, more likely a quince. And without that one thing, all sorts of other things would’t have happened and yeah, I know, but right now I am shaking my fist at my ceiling and feeling the urge to drop to my knees and rip my shirt in half.. if you don’t get the reference, I apologize for not apologizing because movies. They’re great.))

I have seriously considered a complete hysterectomy. Just to not have to deal with this anymore. I consider it the most during times like these where I’m left awake with my brain that keeps chugging along while it wants to give up. But I am woman, hear me roar… meow…

Did I mention that they now last 8 days? Yeah. 8, sometimes 9. What is this????

I have PCOS also. So these weird periods that last a long time ((have lasted 2 weeks in the past)) or that show up twice a month ((those are always a blasty blast)) are not totally out of the realm of normal. They just suck. And sometimes you just have to put it out there that being a chick SUCKS. Painful, heavy periods. Excruciating ovulation. Y’all, I could go on forever about this. But when it is over, I’ll be good again… for the next 21-28 days. Hah. Then I’ll feel this way again but I’ll spare you.

I love my kids. I appreciate the ability to have had them. I understand the pain of lost pregnancies because of personal experience, time and time again. I understand the pain and longing of infertility because I spent 3 years not being able to get pregnant. I, like most women (probably), just wish that there was another way!

I’m sorry that I went silent and came back with this. I have been crying my eyes out at every little thing I see on TV or read. My mind, body and emotions need a break.

One last thing and I’ll leave you for the night/morning as it is now 3:40AM. Hug your loved ones tightly. Speak to them as if the last time you see them or talk to them could be the last time. What do you want your last words to be to someone you love? 7 years ago today, in just a couple of hours, my grandfather passed away. For all intents and purposes, he was my Dad/ Mine walked out, he stepped in. He was the most important man in my life. He was my entire world. This is not to discredit my Mom, she was and is amazing. There is just nothing like the bond and love between a father and daughter. She knows. He was hers first. She just let me borrow him. He was the epitome of kindness. He loved to laugh. His smile was contagious. He always sang or hummed or scatted around the house. He let me dance on his shoes. He let me cover him in jewelry, face paint and nail polish. He held my hand. He tucked me in. He made sure that every second of every day I knew without a doubt that he loved me. He was the best man I have ever known. I gave my son his name. I started losing him to Alzheimer’s when I was 9 years old. I spent as much time with him as possible. Soaking up everything. I chose a college close to the nursing home he had to go to when it became unsafe for him being at home. He shaped and changed my life in some of the best ways possible. I had a dream the other night. He was there. Healthy, happy, whole. My cousins and I were all our current ages; married, kids, dogs. Everyone was together. My grandmother, too. Also whole and happy and healthy. I woke up, sobbing. He visits me in my dreams around this time every year. Always smiling. I always get my Daddy back, even for a brief moment. And here I sit, crying, and that’s okay. I miss him. And I’m so incredibly thankful that I had him to miss. So hug your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them. You never know when the last time you see them will be the last time you see them. When the last time you hear them laugh…. will be the last time you hear them laugh outside of your dreams.

4AM… Until next time…

CleanCookBeAnInsomniacRepeat

#WhatMommingLooksLike

Hats off to all the moms who have it together! Who get up in the morning and do their hair and makeup. Who have floors so clean you can eat off them. Who make trips to the grocery store with 2+ kids in tow and leave with all their hair still attached to their heads. Who work 9-5 (or whatever schedule you have) and come home to clean, cook, sleep and repeat. Who stay at home and don’t put the dishes in the refrigerator and the milk in the cabinet. Who manage to do everything on their own because it’s just you and the kid(s). Who have done this already once with your own kids and are now either helping out your kid or taking full responsibility for caring for your grandkids. Seriously. Here’s to you. Pour yourself a glass of wine or what have you and celebrate. You deserve it.

The last time I wore makeup was two Saturdays ago to a friend’s wedding that Hubs was in as a groomsman. Know what I had to do to make that possible? Big Kid and Little Baby were BOTH out of the house. I had to take them to grandparents so that I could shower, dry my hair ((Little Baby HATES the sound of the hair dryer)) and apply any kind of makeup. I am so out of practice with any of those things that it took me a solid 3 hours. Half an hour was spent attempting to find my makeup, figure out what I was going to wear and finding my shoes.

The last time I brushed my hair…. was Saturday. This past Saturday, so don’t judge me too harshly. I picked between fixing my hair or putting on makeup and I went with fixing my hair. The curl didn’t hold and it rained so… frizz-fest. But I did it. Hubs’ birthday was Saturday and he worked all day but we decided we would actually go out and have dinner together. Something we don’t get to do terribly often. Big Kid, yet again, was with his grandmother ((she likes to steal him away often)) and Little Baby went to Hubs’ parents to hang out with them! It was wonderful to get to spend time together. He has been working so hard, non-stop, since starting this new job. Getting even a few hours together that aren’t filled with kids screaming, baths being given, dinner being eaten, bottles being washed, dishes being done… it’s nice. I’ve missed it.

Yesterday, my plan was to commit to self-care. Simply taking a shower, fixing my hair, dressing nicely, putting on makeup. Ya know what happened? Life. Life happened. I have a 4 month old baby who is teething. A 6 year old Deafie who is EXTREMELY loud and doesn’t realize it. Both of them were up before the sun and this Momma had about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. So out the window went taking care of myself. I made it to the grocery store, with the help of my wonderful Mom. And Cracker Barrel made us dinner last night. Can I tell you something? I feel no shame.

Social media promotes the best parts of ourselves a lot of the time. It doesn’t always show off the truth of what goes on behind closed doors. Few and far between are the posts about how you’re on your third day in a row of wearing the same spit-up covered shirt. (guilty….. right now…..) Or how you set out to get your dishes into the dishwasher and because one kid needs attention and the other is upset and won’t sleep and you’re just UTTERLY EXHAUSTED to the point that you can’t remember what you JUST did with the phone you need to send a text to your husband on when you realize that it’s in your hand and, look at that, you’ve already sent the text you were thinking of sending… and hey…. dishes? It’s great that we can be all smiles and happy thoughts on social media because in a world with so much negativity, positive things are necessary to get us through the day. But, it can also breed more negative thoughts in the minds of those Moms who don’t have it all together. We start comparing ourselves and we feel bad because it’s been two weeks since we last wore something that wasn’t covered in our kid’s favorite food or formula. It’s tough. It’s okay to not have it all together.

Before we delve into what “Momming” looks like for most people, let me say this. I am in no way ungrateful for my kids. Each one, in their own way, has presented new challenges, new adjustments, new experiences. Each one of them are a gift from my faithful God. The first one, Big Kid, I was told I would never have kids. After a miscarriage and feeling like the doctors might be right, here came my first rainbow baby. My miracle. He has grown into this AWESOME little person with an amazing Deaf identity and a love for himself that makes my heart smile. Years later, miscarriage after miscarriage, being angry with my body, hating myself, begging God to not let me get pregnant again unless it was going to stick, Him answering my prayers, three years of infertility, a surprise came in the form of a beautiful little girl. Her name means gift from God. Because that’s exactly what she is. My two rainbow babies. They make me a Mom. But from time to time, they make me lose my mind. Sometimes, I need a break! And that’s okay! This whole being a Mom thing isn’t easy. No matter what anybody says. We are raising and training little people to grow up to be fully functioning, productive members of society. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. The strongest of people, no matter what you see on social media, still struggle with something! I am grateful. I am thankful. I still struggle.

Here’s what “Momming” can really look like most days;

You wear your pajamas all day long. You have your hair up in a falling-down bun or pony tail that’s nothing like that Pinterest looks you’ve pinned recently. You wear yoga pants because you got hooked on them while you were pregnant and now wearing jeans=dressing up. You can’t remember the last time that you took a shower in the actual shower and not a bird bath in the sink. The shirt you’re wearing is covered in substances that you no longer can discern from one another and a smattering or twenty of spit-up. You have bags under your eyes. You catch a snack a few times a day. You sleep much less than the recommended number of hours per night. Leaving the house is too much of a chore that most days you don’t do it. Walking to the mailbox counts as your exercise for the week when you remember to do it that one day of the week. You love your animals but wish sometimes that they had opposable thumbs and could feed themselves. Your floors aren’t even clean enough for the dogs to eat off of, if they could find the floors hidden beneath the toys. You have dishes piled in your sink, on your counters and on your kitchen table but you most definitely have clean, sterile bottles. Paper plates are your best option, always. Not knowing where your keys are is an every day thing and you constantly think that a key holder for the wall is a good idea but never get around to buying/making or putting one up. You lose your phone, wallet and mind multiple times throughout the day. Time without the kids sounds SO wonderful until you realize that every second without them will break your heart, you’ll worry and/or feel guilty that you felt you needed a break. Someone always tells you to “enjoy this time with them,” “they’ll only be little for so long,” “you’ll miss this one day,” and you know that it’s true but right now, in this moment, you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to stop for five seconds and take care of yourself.

Mommas, hear me. It IS okay to put on YOUR OWN oxygen mask first! You can’t help anyone if you’re dead! You cannot pour from an empty cup! You can’t be that mom who has it all together without taking care of yourself at some point. So many people have so many opinions on whether or not to allow their kids to cry, ever. I’m here to tell you that a Mom who lets her kid cry for five minutes while she washes her face after a night of 2 hours of broken sleep, is a GOOD Mom. A Mom who makes time for herself to grab a shower is a GOOD Mom. A Mom who makes the effort to clean the house, even if the Big Kid and the Little Baby aren’t all that ecstatic that her attention is given elsewhere, is a GOOD MOM! You can’t rest in a house in chaos. You can’t take care of anyone else without first at least taking care of yourself somewhat. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been that Mom that has hidden in the closet with a chocolate bar and cried my eyes out watching videos of cats on YouTube because I was just SO worn out and needed 5 minutes to myself. All the while, my Big Kid was on the other side of the closet door, banging, wanting me to put batteries into his motorized Thomas the train.

Let’s not let ourselves get to that point. Let’s take care of ourselves before we feel like we have to hide. Whatever taking care of yourself looks like, I challenge you today to put aside time for yourself. Every day for a week. See what happens. See how you feel. See how much easier you can handle when your day doesn’t go the way you planned. See the amount of patience you gain. See how much happier you are, spending time with your kid(s). For me, today, this was part of my self-care. Getting thoughts out of my head. Here shortly, I’m going to take a shower. We won’t talk about when the last time I took a shower was… partially because I can’t remember and partially because I’m not sure I WANT to remember. Your kids will thank you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day, they will see that they spent their time growing up with a Mom who was happy. She might not have had it all together all the time… but she was happy and truly enjoyed the time she spent with her kids because she allowed herself to not feel guilty about taking care of herself.

I’ll step off my soapbox… for now… mainly because Ladybug is awake and hungry again. Until the next time…

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep (Lord, I hope) and Repeat..