Am I Really A Mom?

Am I Really A Mom?

Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’m actually a mom. For the longest time I said I was never gonna get married or have kids, so motherhood feels very foreign to me. I sit back and just think, “Wow, I’m really a mom of two beautiful children.”

I waited a lot longer than most of the people I know. I didn’t become a mom until I was almost 28, and some of my friends had kids in the double digits already. I’m glad I waited, because I feel like I can handle the stress of being a parent much better than I could have 10 years ago. 

Today my Little Man turns 1. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone by. It feels surreal sometimes, like I’m living someone else’s life. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s nothing better than spending time with my kids. Happy First Birthday, Jr. Mommy loves you ❤

Am I Watching Too Much TV?

Am I Watching Too Much TV?

I try not to be a couch potato. I try to get myself and the kids outside every day, whether it’s playing in the back yard, taking a walk, or going to the park. But we do like to watch a little TV. 

My kids are obsessed with Mickey Mouse and Daniel Tiger, so they spend their mornings watching cartoons while I tidy things up and get breakfast ready. I usually shut off the TV during breakfast and try to keep it off as long as I can. I know that I’m more active and productive when I’m not watching so much TV. 

I do have a couple of shows that I like to watch regularly. I’m a Wheel of Fortune junkie, so I try not to miss an episode. I watch Jeopardy most afternoons, and my guilty pleasure 2 Broke Girls after the kids go to bed. 

I try not to get too caught up in reality TV, and new shows that get you hooked. I’ve always thought watching TV is a waste of time. But I do occasionally binge watch a series on Netflix or HBO. I try not to do it too often, and keep my TV time to a minimum. 

I’m able to keep up with my household chores and adult responsibilities much better when I’m not sitting around watching TV all day. As much as I’d rather be lazy and lounge around on the couch all day, reality calls. It’s just after breakfast, so time to turn off the TV, put the phone down, and get my daily to-do list knocked out!

Happy Friday! 

Am I Getting Depressed?

Am I Getting Depressed?

I’ve struggled with depression on and off for as long as I can remember. It’s been a battle I’ve fought for so long I can’t remember ever living any other way. I’m currently on medication that seems to balance my emotions out most of the time, but I still find myself getting depressed from time to time. 

My husband can see it start to surface before I can. He notices the symptoms several days before I do, and has been trying to help me notice before it gets out of control. I’ve gone through quite a bit of counseling in the past few years, and learned various coping skills to manage my depression. Here are a few that help me when I’m starting to feel down:

Don’t Isolate

When I’m feeling depressed I tend to isolate myself and try to hide from the world. I will avoid leaving the house at all costs, when it gets bad enough. I don’t answer the phone or reply to texts. So I know if I’m starting to feel down I need to reach out and talk to a family member/friend, or go to a support group meeting. 

Exercise and Eat Well

I’ve always been a total comfort eater. Any time I get depressed I go straight to the junk food to make myself feel better. Of course it always ends up back firing and making me feel worse in the long run, but it’s been something I’ve struggled with since adolescence. I’ve been trying to eat a healthier, more balanced diet and exercise regularly. Fueling my body with the right nutrients and taking control of my fitness level has helped me tremendously. 

Counter Negative Thoughts 

My thought process has always leaned more toward the negative side of things, and my brain often rushes to the worst case scenario in any situation. This has been the hardest symptom of my depression to overcome. Through counseling and support groups I have learned to identify and turn around my backwards thinking. Some of the specific types of thinking I engage in are:

  • All or nothing thinking: seeing things in black and white, with no gray areas in between. 
  • Emotional reasoning: using your feelings instead of your judgment to view a situation. 
  • Mind reading: believing that you know what a person is thinking. Those are your thoughts, not theirs
  • Predicting the future: assuming what the outcome will be without letting the scenario play through. 

I know that when I let my mind go wherever it wants, it will usually lead to depression. I have to make a conscious effort to recognize these types of thoughts and retrain my brain to do the opposite. 

    Engage in Enjoyable Activities

    When my depression sets in, I don’t find any activities to be very enjoyable. But I know that once I do something I’ll start feeling better. If I’m really down I have to force myself to do most things, but in the end it’s worth it. Some of the activities I engage in are home workouts, playing with my kids, coloring, putting puzzles together, camping, kayaking, walking, etc. Getting outdoors is great for my mood, because it allows me to get much needed fresh air and sunshine as well. 

    Stick To A Routine 

    I find it helpful to have a general daily routine for myself and the kids to stick to. We’re pretty loose about it, but we try to have meals at the same time every day, take a bath after dinner, etc. I also have a cleaning schedule that I try to follow. This helps me to stay on track with what needs to be done, so nothing gets a chance to pile up on me. 
    These techniques have helped me keep my depression under control, and living a happy, healthy life with my family. There are others that I’ve tried, and more I’m sure I’ll learn in the future, but for now I will stick with what has worked for me. 

    Am I A Good Mom? 

    Am I A Good Mom? 

    I’m relatively new at this whole “mom” thing, and I’m constantly second guessing myself when it comes to my parenting. Am I feeding them enough? Am I letting them watch too much TV? Am I stimulating their minds enough? The list could go on. 

    But as long as my kids are happy and healthy and at the end of the day they’ve had enough to eat and are relatively clean, I feel I’m doing a pretty good job. They’re learning and growing at the right pace, and they are both very sweet and loving. I’m trying to do my best to teach them the skills they’ll need to be productive members of society when they grow up. 

    My husband and I have a 15 year age gap between us. He is a classic Gen-X’er, and I’m a pretty typical Millennial, so we don’t always see eye to eye on some things, especially parenting. But we manage to work around that most of the time and compromise in the middle. We think we’re doing a pretty good job of raising our kids so far, but we’ll have to wait for them to get older and start making their own decisions to really find out. 

    Am I Praying?

    Am I Praying?

    One thing that I never had in my life growing up was religion. My family just didn’t practice spirituality. I have a great-aunt who says Grace before Thanksgiving, but that is literally the extent of it. As a mom, I don’t want my children growing up that way. I thought of myself as agnostic/atheist for most of my life, and never wanted to have kids or even get married. But ALL of that changed the day I met my husband. 

    We’ve been married for three and a half years, and have a 2 year old and almost 1 year old. Something changed in me, and I believe the force driving that change was God. My husband and I have tried out a few different churches since we’ve been together, but haven’t found the right fit yet. 

    I have started learning about the different Christian denominations, and trying to talk to God lately, and it has drastically changed my outlook on life. But I always feel self-conscious when I pray. Nobody ever really taught me how to pray, I basically just wing it (like everything else) and hope that I’m doing it right. 

    My daughter and I have been praying together before bed, and reading toddler Bible stories. I tell her this is our time to talk to God, thank Him for our blessings, and ask Him for guidance in our lives. 

    I know that eventually we’ll find the right church for our families, but for now I’m just trying to do the best that I can with the resources I have available. 

    Am I Being Awkward?

    Am I Being Awkward?

    As an “adult” (using the term loosely here) I am constantly questioning if I’m doing certain things right. Manners and social interactions are on the top of that list. I’ve always been relatively socially awkward and have a hard time thinking of things to say, so I’m never sure if I’m being polite enough. I definitely make it a point not to be rude, but I’m generally at a loss for words when it comes to making small talk, taking compliments, greeting people, etc. 

    As an introvert, I have been this way as long as I can remember. In my early to mid twenties I would just have a cocktail or two at social events to feel more comfortable talking to people. As I am getting older, my social events tend to be more “grown-up” and catching a buzz is generally frowned upon, so I’ve had to learn new ways to ease my anxiety. 

    A couple techniques that have worked for me are to relax, reframe my thoughts, and remember to stay in the moment. 

    To stay calm when I’m starting to feel a little panicky, I make sure to focus on my breathing, and take nice deep breaths. Sometimes I will count backwards from ten to one if I’m feeling especially tense. Other relaxation techniques can be to visualize a calming picture, focus on something specific from your surroundings, or repeat a phrase in your head. 

    My mind tends to go straight to the worst case scenario in these situations, and I’ll find myself worrying about what people are going to think of me. I often think (mostly) irrational thoughts, like “What if people think I’m stupid?” “What if I say something stupid?” and “What if people don’t like me?”  The truth is, everyone has thoughts like this from time to time, but you have to push them out of your mind and think the opposite instead. “What if I say something that really resonates with someone?” or “What if I really connect with someone here?”

    Making sure to stay focused on the moment and not to dwell on the what-ifs is a tremendous life saver for me in social situations. I try to take a few minutes and notice everything that I can using all of my senses. Whatever sights, sounds, smells, or sensations are around I take them in and push everything else out of my mind for a minute. This helps me remember to focus on what’s actually happening here and now, instead of what could happen. 

    I certainly haven’t mastered the art of conversation through these techniques, but it has helped me from going into full-blown panic mode when dealing with real, grown-up adults. 

    Taking compliments has never been a very graceful thing for me, either. If someone tells me they like my hair or my dress, I turn into a deer in headlights and find myself stammering out some kind of awkward thank-you-but-I-don’t-agree statement. My (occasionally) wise husband gave me advice for this one, and it hasn’t failed me yet. To gracefully take a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.” If you have a genuine compliment to give back, give it. If not, thank you is the most acceptable reply. It took me quite a long time to learn this, and it’s literally so easy a child could do it. 

    As a mother of two young kids, I want to make sure I set a good example for them, and teach them skills that I didn’t learn until well after I should have. I try to teach them to be polite, they say please and thank you, excuse me, etc. That’s the easy part. The hard part will be teaching them coping skills to deal with various life stressors that they can utilize into adulthood. I think I’m doing a pretty good job, so far, I just have to keep myself in check and make sure to be a good role model for them. 

    Am I Setting Goals?

    Am I Setting Goals?

    Lately I’ve been trying to be more organized and keep up with household chores better. When I first got married I imagined myself as the perfect wife: I’d keep the house spotless all the time, cook dinner for my husband every night, and that when I had kids I would just naturally become this “perfect” mom. Let me tell you, that was not the case. 

    I’ve struggled for the past few years with keeping up with the endless piles of dishes and laundry, the tedious task of grocery shopping, and just keeping our home clean in general. I’ve tried different ways to get more organized; countless apps, hand-written to-do lists, and calendars have all failed me so far. 

    This week I decided to try something new, and bought a planner that only has one day per page, and lists out hours on the left-hand side. On the “Notes” pages, I made four lists: daily to-dos, weekly to-dos, monthly to-dos, and seasonal to-dos. I have always felt like I’m more productive when I have a physical list that I can cross items off of. The system is new to me, but I’m hopeful that this will finally push me in the right direction. 

    I haven’t really set a lot of goals for myself, so it feels weird to me, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I just did there!