Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Mental Health, minimalism

If You’re a Mom Struggling with Depression, Fatigue or Other Chronic Health Issues, you’re NOT Alone!

In a perfect world, motherhood would exempt a person from health struggles that really affect functioning.  It’s hard enough to face your own struggles, then on top of that see how your family is affected by them too.  For the past few weeks I’ve been pretty wiped out.  I went back to having practically zero energy, achiness, and lower than usual mood.  I have to combat the fear that I will stay stuck in barely surviving-mode.  I can only guess what took me down was a combo of hormones out of whack again, eating some mystery ingredient(s?) that my body didn’t agree with, and a lot of rain.  It can cause a lot of anxiety to feel like you need to fix this NOW and get your family thriving again.  That pressure just makes things worse if you let it linger.

What do I do when I get a big health setback?  I generally

  1. Give myself room to rest.  I let my spouse know what’s going on with me mentally and physically, and I don’t push myself to be super-woman.  I make sure we have gluten free frozen pizza for my kids, or some other fast meal options I don’t have to do much to plan or prepare for.
    Along those lines, I dismiss any timetable pressure.  As much as possible, don’t let that calendar boss you around and stress you out when you’re struggling!  Health and family are more important than losing my mind trying to muster energy I don’t have to accomplish goals that honestly won’t improve my or my family’s life a ton in this season, and others can live without the outcome.  I’ll enjoy setting and accomplishing bigger goals again when they’re flowing from creative energy instead of forcing it during a time of depletion.
  2. Try to walk [the dog] a mile each morning.  If I start the morning walking [the dog] first thing, then I know I’ve gotten serotonin and dopamine going…and it chills out my anxious dog Kody, as well.   I find even on my lowest energy days, I can make a mile walk happen, even if I have to nap later that morning.
  3. Occasionally, if I can’t get out of a funk, I go get a Haircut (or update it myself at home). Psychology might point to how controlling one’s environment, or in my case, haircut, can make a person feel better about the things they can’t control.  But personally, I think the bigger deal is feeling more put-together and polished with a defined haircut–a boost in morale I guess.  I guess some would call this the “treat yourself” method.  Some do shopping therapy, but as a minimalist, this suits me better and I don’t get overwhelmed by more stuff in my house. 6OgmxgZZRBa41JPx0G6gaQ_thumb_3ee8
  4.   Find one thing to improve in my life or perspective. I’m talking about figuring something out that brightens your living environment or makes life easier on a body.  On a long health-journey, you can get so worn out with trudging through the challenges that it is essential to figure out stress reduction and energy-conservation methods.

    Some friends (even those without health struggles, but who are trying to reduce stress and be less irritable mothers, etc) hire a house cleaner, for instance.  I opted to get a little robot vacuum * to clean our laminate wood floors and low-pile carpets, since they can go under the couch and get all the sand a dirt my kids and dog track in from out back.

    This can apply to your health condition specifically as well.  Some reduce stress through massage therapy and other means like acupuncture.  One exciting possibility for me is getting my varicose veins fixed after getting ultrasounds showing I have venous reflux, or blood flowing backward.  (Yes, I am in my 30s and have varicose veins.  They happened after my 2nd pregnancy).  Improved blood flow should increase energy levels and even mental health.

    Getting positive input
    to keep my head above water is crucial.  Some options I like are listening to audible books like Lysa TerKeurst’s  It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way or an encouraging podcast like Risen Motherhood .

    As part of my rest and recover plan, and also for putting myself in a good headspace, I ditched the dishes and laundry and took the kids to a relaxing county park beach during their free admission week.  I thank God for providing that option to me!  The sound of waves and sand on my feet, and a sunny week to recharge did wonders for me.  It was easy to smile with the sun warming my back, the water cooling my toes, pretty shells and tiny crabs to inspire awe at the world once again.  IMG_5421.JPG
    I hope you know whatever you’re facing, there is hope for tomorrow.  Blessings to you, friend.

    *Disclosure: Some links may be affliate links, simply meaning at no cost to you I may earn a commission which will support my blog if you click and make a purchase.

Posted in Day in the life of a mom, Ponderings about life

Representin’…the SAHM life.

This week while grabbing more veggies and milk at Target (which doesn’t have the best deals–I prefer Aldi– but that’s where we had a gift card to, and Ibotta* gives back a little) I conversed a bit with the cashier.  She thought my little girl was cute, and thankfully Threenager didn’t give her a stinkface and prove her wrong (this time).

The cashier mentioned she was new there.  I said I hope she enjoys her job, and as she lifted the heavy milk jug up to hand me, I noted aloud that it included the perk of a workout.  She said yeah, it’s nice, and she needs it because before that she was a stay-at-home-mom for 8 years.  I interjected, “Oh, that’s what I do.” To which she replied, “It really sucks!”  I paused, not sure if she meant not working out when she stayed at home, or if she was saying my profession sucks, so I asked, “Oh? What does?”  “Staying at home!” She exclaimed, giving me knowing eyes and nodding her head. “It’s so boring! I didn’t get to see my friends or get out and do things!”  And she had a bit more to say before I paid and left.

It seemed like she just needed to talk.  So I didn’t say what I was thinking, that being a Stay-At-Home-Mom can be hard.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I have never struggled so much as I have as a mother trying to balance house duties and keeping little people alive 24-7, with hardly a moment off.  I’ve been a “Messy” the first 30 years of my life, totally disorganized, and I’m not really a great cook.  I was confident with caring for other people’s kids, but mine have been harder to figure out.  Yet, things are improving, and this is the most meaningful thing I have invested into.  I wouldn’t trade my job for any other.

And, because it would have been totally rude, I also didn’t say the saying that popped into my mind that my momma would say about the word “boring.”  It goes, Only boring people get bored.  I’d personally modify it to say that being bored is simply the result of a sleeping imagination.

So my heart went away sad.  Sad that she was utterly discontent during those 8 years.  Sad that perhaps her children hear her saying it was torture to stay at home with them.  Sad that this was how my profession was being represented to a public that, generally speaking, also looks down on staying at home.

I wish that she had known how to thrive in it.  Admittedly, I am still learning more about that.  But I know that I do NOT think my job sucks.  As for her complaints, I think there were solutions to them.  The thing is, as SAHMs, complaining to the manager is…complaining to ourselves.  And a wise manager can fix the issues rather than let them pile up into a big mess of get-me-outta-here.

News flash.  SAHMs can have an exercise routine.  A lot of gyms have childcare available.  I personally use youtube videos as my workout routine since I don’t have gym membership (and don’t want one). I like Cocolime Fitness, Lucy Wyndham-Read, and Jessica Smith TV channels and videos because they are good for chronic fatigue and don’t wipe me out like the higher intensity ones would.

Being a homemaker doesn’t have to be lonely, because you can find your tribe and make your own schedule, which can and should include socializing with others who share your interests.  Play dates can start by exchanging contact info with a mom and meeting up the next week at Chick-fil-a on a rainy day, and progress to the home atmosphere later on.  It may not be the drinks-after-work some career women are used to, but it’s socializing.  You find time for what is important to you, and if working out and friend time is important, you make it happen.

I recently read or heard that people who had life-altering injuries were followed-up with a year after their injuries to find they had returned to their former baseline happiness levels.  (Which also made me think of how people who win the lottery are often much more miserable afterwards, and wish they had not won the lottery.  Maybe an unmet expectations issue?)  Basically, the point is that eventually, after life changes we return (or decline) to whatever level of contentment we maintain now.  So my mind questions whether this new cashier job will fix the lonely cashier’s happy-o-meter.

Next time, I might be grocery shopping with a fussy kid.  I might be a frustrated momma, even.  But I hope even in the least ideal of circumstances, I aim to represent my profession well.  I can remind myself what matters–caring for these little people, creating a loving home, and being fulfilled in a life I am choosing.

(*If you are unfamiliar with Ibotta, it’s an easier way to coupon, in a smart phone app, by simply selecting items you are going to buy from whatever store you’re going to get in advance, then scanning or photographing the receipt after you’ve purchased the items of your selection.  There’s even a way to link store loyalty cards.  I forget to use physical paper coupons usually, but taking a minute to scan a receipt after the hubub of the store checkout line is much easier and doable for me!  Here’s a link for you to get started saving if you’re interested, and you should get a bonus for joining, maybe $10 or so. It also helps me out!  After you have saved $20 you can cash out. I usually cash out with Amazon or Walmart gift cards. https://ibotta.com/r/tiasrax)

 

 

 

 

Posted in minimalism, Ponderings about life, saving money, Uncategorized

Aiming high in 2018!

As I take down and prepare to recycle our 8-year old, pre-lit, 4 ft. Christmas tree that slowly dwindled down to having only 1/5th of the lights working, I start to think about how I might miss out on the after-Christmas sales, where I was hoping to snag a replacement.  They’re probably all sold out by now! I worry.  (Did I mention how I am an expert? At least at worrying.  I’m trying to lose that credential lately.)  Even if they weren’t, I spent the cash, mostly piggy bank quarters, on groceries and now we’re not using credit this month! I think, defeated. 

Then I catch myself and say, as it is a new year, how about a shift in thinking?  I am determining to stay on the sunny side of life this year.  The past several years were way too wearing on me, full of anxiety and more often than I’d like to admit, negativity (which grows easily when you’re chronically fatigued), and I’m ready for an improved point of view. (And hormone health…but that’s for another post!)

My January goal, as mentioned earlier, is not using credit.  After December and gift buying, mostly on Amazon (where Discover offered 5% cash back on purchases!!), my husband showed me our mint info…and there was a lot of red.  Actually, in more than just December.  Because we don’t buy what we can’t afford, I didn’t think of it as a problem.  I’m the acquisitions expert in the family.  (Read: shopper extraordinaire).  We had money in savings. I discussed everything beforehand with my financial partner, my handsome hubs.  But with over half the year drawing from it (mostly for medical bills and health efforts like buying organic and gluten free foods), maybe it’s time to scale back in other ways?  So, thought-pattern shifting time!

I don’t really do things half-heartedly.  I’m kind of all or nothing.  So when my husband suggested we be careful the next few months and try to save, I got curious.  What if we didn’t use credit AT ALL this month?! (With the exception of buying gas, which Discover offers 5% cash back on, again…that’s making money, you know)?! How much could we save then? The possibility was rather exciting. 

The goals?  Save for our kids’ next year at a private school, be able to afford plane tickets to visit my brother on the other side of the US, and budget for a dog (wasn’t that like $1,000 a year including vet bills?).

So, no impulse buys this month.  Empty our pantry.  Get creative with meals, only use gift cards ($40 to Target, $25 to Amazon, and the rest of our cash, which was about $20 in bills, and $10 in coins) to restock the empty fridge with fresh milk, fruit and veggies for the kids after returning from Christmas vacation.  Put all “wants” on a list for next month.  I got this.  So I think.

Stay tuned. 

P.S.  Back to the Christmas Tree…I changed my thinking to more outside the box.  I’ve always wanted a little 2-3 ft. live one that come in cute little pots at Lowes!  So that’s my plan.  Next year, we’ll have a tree/bush to plant outside after adding some live greenery to our home.  No artificial one in storage(we don’t really have storage spaces in our home) for me!  How’s that for a step towards minimalism? I should pat myself on the back for that triumph out of decor-tragedy!