Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No, I'm not "Single Momming It"

A lot of people tell me when my husband goes out of town, that I'm "single momming it". Negative, Ghost Rider. No. Nope. Not even a little bit. Sometimes I'll see a Facebook status that says something like "gosh with all the hours my husband has been working this week, it's like I'm a single mom". Cue the mean muggin' side-eye from me. I don't know when or why this became a thing… But it's got to stop.


In my last post, I talked about how much harder parenting gets for me when my husband is out of town. Yes. It is harder. But it is in no way as hard as my single mom friends have it. I'm here taking care of the home front while my husband goes off to bring home the bacon. My single mom friends do both and then some. Every. Dang. Day. Two of my single mom friends don't even have an ex that is remotely in the picture. They are driving this mommy bus completely solo. Tough broads, those gals.


They go from 5am to 10pm+ non stop. They do breakfasts, shoe tying, teeth brushing, carpool lanes, clock punching, diaper changing, bill paying, potty training, snot wiping, lunch packing, doctor appointments, floor de-stickifying, laundry washing, grocery schlepping, dinner making, bathing, bedtime stories, lullabies, boo boos, tantrums, meltdowns, and so much more with no one else's help. Ever. 


No one else is invested in raising their tiny humans. No one is waiting for them when they walk in the door with their young'ns after an impossibly long day. No one ever takes a turn getting dinner together to give them a break. No one else is responsible for the type of human they raise. No one else is contributing to that college fund. No one else is contributing to that child's sense of self worth. No one else is there to help in discipline. No one else is lying next to them in bed wondering if their kids are happy enough. No one is there to hold them when they're crying and feeling that one person can't give their kids everything they need and deserve. No one shares the burden of wondering how to make their account balance work. There's no one else to explain to their tear stained child why they don't have two parents like everyone else. There is no one there to take a turn taking care of a sick kid so they don't lose any hourly pay. There is no one there to hash out how to troubleshoot parenting dilemmas. They can't leave the dishes in the sink and just save them for hubby when he gets home. No one else is helping make sure the kids are having fun despite all the all encompassing to-do list.

Parenting is f**king hard

Is anyone else as ridiculously excited about the new Adele album as I am? Y'all. I love her music. It's so soulful and honest. In a world of twerking and bubble gum pop, I find it so refreshing. There's no camouflage. No sugar coating. There's just honesty. I dig that.


She did her first interview in three years and she said that parenting is "f**king hard". You know what? She's right. Family life sometimes is just hard. No way around it.


In talking to some of my mom friends, my mind is blown by everything they deal with. 


I have a friend who is juggling therapy appointments for her autistic son and chemotherapy for herself. I have a friend who is dealing with the bureaucracy of state-run speech therapy and family drama and a difficult work situation and she is always worrying that she's getting this wife and mom thing wrong{she's not--by the way}. I have a friend with a colicky baby. She is losing what's left of her mind, and she's feeling immeasurably guilt that she spends the majority of her time wishing to run away screaming. I have a friend who has a toddler who has a love of smearing his poop all over his room so she now has had to resort to duct taping him into his diaper. Speaking of poop, my friend's daughter swallowed a bobby pin that resulted in a poorly timed ER visit and inspecting poop to make sure it came out. I have a friend who told me she was kind of relieved when her husband had to travel on their anniversary because it meant she wouldn't have to shave her legs and go out. I have a friend who has a kid who once projectile vomited all over her brand new laptop. I have a friend who has a fourteen year old daughter who told her that she "hates" her because my friend took her phone away when she found some sexts on it. Every kid will {at some point or another} do something that you swore your kid would NEVER do before you had kids. And it will happen in front of everyone. I could go on, but I guarantee every mom has a list, big or small, on why parenting/family life is freakin' hard.


For me, my husband travels for his job. Like a lot. And I swear… EVERY TIME he goes out of town, my world falls apart. I'm very happy that he's happy and successful with his job, but parenting gets a lot harder when he's not here. One time, I awoke to find my kitchen flooded from the toilet upstairs leaking through the floor. There was no husband to help me shut the water off or get it cleaned up and I still had to get my kid off to school. Hard. There have been more than a few times when I've been trying to get our son to bed and I couldn't get him calmed down because he was missing his daddy so much. Hard. There was one time the pilot light went out and we had no hot water to take a shower. Just in time for bedtime. In the middle of December. Hard. One time I had to be on bed rest for an entire week due to an injury while my husband was across the country. While still figuring out a way to feed our kid and get him to school and football practice. Hard. 


This week, hubby is traveling. Of course, I had a sick kid today. He woke up with a sore throat last night at 3am… JUST as I had fallen asleep. And the dog had a seizure today. And I had a headache for most of the day. And I had a very demanding client that stressed me out. And parenting just seems to be so much harder when my husband isn't here. And about a million other hard things. 


There just aren't enough hours in the day, y'all. But I still somehow have time to dwell on my neurotic thoughts that I'm messing up royally. I have so many times when I watch people around me "doing" parenting better than I do. 


I did manage to go have dinner with two friends very near and dear to my heart tonight. Before I got there, I had to go to the store to buy all the items on my "parenting is freakin' hard this week" shopping list:




Don't judge. Real talk here.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Belly of the Beast Part 4

I've been doing a blog series on my PTSD. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here. I've talked about my personal experiences, but in this last piece, I'd like to talk more about what you can do to help someone with PTSD because PTSD sucks, plain and simple. Have you seen those commercials that says "depression hurts everyone?" Same goes for PTSD. It sucks for people who have it and it sucks for people who love someone who does. Loving someone who has PTSD is HARD {just ask my husband--God bless the man}. Your loved one can be distant, depressed, or downright terrifying at times. But they NEED you to love them anyway. With that in mind, here's a list of things you can do to help someone with their PTSD.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Belly of the Beast Part 3

I've been doing a blog series on my PTSD. You can read the first part here and the second part here. I went out to lunch with a friend yesterday, and she told me she read part two of this series and really hoped it would say more about me and what I'm going through. At first I thought that meant that she didn't like it, but she explained to me that she did, she just wanted to know more about my personal journey with it. It made me realize that even though I've gone public with my diagnosis, I'm still keeping parts of the beast hidden.


We live in a world where we filter everything. We only place our highlight reel out there for people to see. Not just people, but our family and friends who love us and support us through all of life's messy moments. Why do we do that? I think we feel insecure in ourselves, so we need validation that we get some stuff right.


We present perfect photos of our families in matching outfits at the pumpkin patch... because we don't want the world to know that our toddlers threw an atomic temper tantrum in the parking lot and we're scared to death we don't have this mom thing licked. We post pictures of perfect family dinners… because we're drowning in the messiness of life and we feel like it's the only thing we got right all week. We need to show all of the internet our new car so they'll "like" it and make us feel whole again--not like we're swallowed in self doubt.


And even armed with our highlight reel of Instagram photos, there are countless filtering apps to make our perfect pictures even more perfect. We live in a culture that has an obsessive need to show people we have our sh** together. We have a compulsion to project an image who isn't who we actually are, but who we wish we were.


Y'all. I wish I had as much figured out as I present to the world. But I am a mess, and that is what I want to show today instead of my crimped pie crusts and happy snapshots I put up on Instagram.


PTSD sucks. It sucks the life out of everything and everyone around it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. You know what one of the most infuriating parts of it is? Most of the time something that triggers me to go to my crazy place is so beyond stupid. One time I smelled something that made me go from Mother Theresa to Naomi Campbell in a microsecond. I have scratches on my dining room table from slamming glassware on it in an angry tirade from getting triggered up from a smell. A smell! So dumb.


And during that episode, I could feel the wake of my destruction around me, but I couldn't stop. For me, it's like an out of body experience when I act like that. It's like being at the movies and covering your eyes during a part you just can't handle, but SO. MUCH. WORSE. I feel so out of control with everything sometimes--my mind, my emotions, my reactions, my dreams, etc. and it makes me react on instinct rather than with logic, so I react without thinking. And for a control freak like me who always needs to have my pie crusts be perfectly crimped, not having control over how I react is emotionally crippling.


So I now have the circle shaped scratches on my dining room table that will remind me every day of how I behaved--and I hate myself so much for it. I never, ever want anyone to hurt the way that I do, but this disorder makes me cause emotional pain to others. The thought of that has, at times, made me feel unworthy of love or even of life. I have so many days of hating myself because I desperately want to be fixed. Because struggling through depression or PTSD is so much more than being sad or mad, it's the shame and self loathing of wishing you weren't. I have some days where staying in my pajamas all day and not leaving my bed isn't the best choice: it's my only choice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Belly of the Beast Part 2

Last week, I wrote about my experiences with PTSD. You can read about it here. The response I got has been overwhelmingly positive, and for that I'm very grateful. I've had a lot of people sending me cards and emails and text messages saying how much they love me or that they're worried about me. Almost everyone is struggling with something, but not everyone has so many people who care.


Here's the thing though: I would've had no idea anyone cared if I hadn't gone public with it. I was really, really afraid to. People may wonder why, so that's what brought me to write this little piece today. I was so afraid to let people see that deep, dark, ugly inside of me. I just knew they couldn't love me if they saw it. 


Look at Lamar Odom. Last month, late night talk show hosts were using him as a punchline calling him a crackhead and making jokes about the Kardashian family driving him to use. Now he's in a hospital bed fighting for his life against demons we all make fun of. Or look at Britney Spears. Everyone is still talking about her infamous meltdown back in 2007. Memes are still circulating about that stretch of her life. Lindsay Lohan. Same thing. Anna Nicole Smith. Elizabeth Taylor. People actually laugh at people in situations like these. We joke while they're struggling. Then we only act like we care when they're dying.




Why does someone have to die for addiction and mental illness to stop being a punchline? 




I want to talk a little bit more about what my situation is like simply because I have felt like people don't talk enough about this unless there's a celebrity on the way down with a trending hashtag.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Belly of the Beast

It’s 2am with no hope of sleep in sight. I saw the peace on my husband’s face as he slept. I simultaneously felt lucky to be married to him and envious of his ability to sleep so effortlessly. I’ve memorized which spots on our bedroom floor creak so I can step around them to make my escape without getting caught. 



My friends often joke with me “Don’t you ever sleep? I saw that email come from you at 3:30 in the morning! Girl, you’re crazy not to want to sleep!” I usually let out a lighthearted laugh…




but you know what? Crazy is exactly what I feel.




I’ve struggled to sleep as far back as I can remember because when my world is at its quietest, my mind is at its loudest. I lie in bed and hope for sleep without nightmares. I desperately wish to shut my brain off so I might just get some rest. But the fear rises up anyway, and I often think to myself “I really must be crazy.”
 



And when it isn’t fear, it’s self-loathing that is so heavy and dark it feels like it will swallow me whole. So I write. Or bake. Or read. Anything to try to escape. But you can't escape from your own brain.
 




 



You see, I have PTSD. It often makes me feel broken, unlovable, powerless, and like a lost cause. But on the outside, you’d never know it. I work very hard at smiling all the time and serving others. I feel a compulsive need to hide these crazy parts of myself so that no one will ever see this ugly beast that rages inside me. I HATE the beast and I didn't want anyone else to see.  So I worked overtime on keeping it quiet.






 



For a long time this worked…until the beast started fighting to come out. And you know who the beast unleashed itself on? My wonderful husband. I have this great life with him, and feel immeasurable guilt that I can’t just be happy. He caused 0% of the issues that gave me this diagnosis. ZERO. But he caught flack that he never deserved to when I would get triggered in the tiniest {and most unexpected} of ways. And when I’m triggered in an episode, I HATE the way I'm acting, but I’m completely powerless to stop it. All that remains afterward is intense grief and shame. I HATE that he’s catching this stuff the beast dishes out. And I HATE that he feels responsible to fix it.