Thursday, October 24, 2013

My mother, my rock

"Mother: a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth."
This may be the official definition but it hardly applies to my mother because she is so much more. 

My mom has gone above and beyond for me my entire life. Having a childhood with a single mom for some children is a difficult thing to go through. It is stressful, hard, and can be unenjoyable. I think for those children it is because the children are witness to the tough times and see their mothers (or fathers) breakdown wondering where the next meal is going to come from or how the rent is going to be paid. Not me. While my mom had her struggles, and for sure had to deal with the problems above, she never let me onto the fact that there was anything wrong. I never had any indication that things were bad at times, and that we were struggling and because of that I had an amazing childhood. No matter what there was always somethingn to eat, we went and did things and always found a way to have fun. 

My mom worked her ass off when I was little. She may not have always worked jobs she liked but she did it for me, not for herself but for ME.  She gave up most of her young adult life because she cared more about being a mom than being a woman in her 20's. 

I have always appreciated my mom, but I never understood just how hard it was for her until I became a mother. Being a mom is a wonderful thing but holy crap is it hard. I am married now with three kids and I could never imagine doing this alone. I don't think I would ever be strong enough to take that on on my own.  I would probably be in a psych ward by now. But that is the difference between my mother and I and one of the main things I have always admired about her...her undeniable strength and her amazing outlook on life. 

My mom is 100% an optimist and I am 100% a pessimist. I suppose it is a good balance because everytime I am having a breakdown about something (often because I am the queen of the "what-ifs")  my mom tells me not to worry and that things always have a way of working themselves out. I realize now that that is the mentality that got her through the hard times. Her optimism got her through those moments if doubt. It's the philosophy she lived her life by and what made her able to keep it together through the hard times (including my horribly disrespectful and wild teenage years). 

I think one of the best things I learned from my childhood is to never let your children know there is something wrong. Kids don't need to know, kids need the opportunity to be care-free and not start out as worry warts because it could be something that follows them into their adulthood. 

I believe there are many things that happened in my life that caused my severe anxiety, but not for a second do I think it has anything to do with the way I grew up. I wouldn't have traded my childhood for anything. 

To this day my mom continues to be my rock. There will never be anyone else that can make me feel the way she does. She is always there to give me great advice, sit through my babbling cry-filled breakdowns, stop me from second guessing my parenting choices, and most importantly remind me daily that I am a great person and mother and that no matter what the situation I WILL get through it.  Even if I made decisions she may not have agreed with she always supported me unconditionally, and if my decision blew up in my face she was and continues to be there to help me pick up the pieces. She is everything to me and I try to show her that as much as I can. I hope to someday be as strong as she is, but in the meantime it means the world to me that she is strong for both of us. 

I love you mom and thank you for always being there for me no matter what. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Why I love grocery shopping with my kids.....

The grocery store, its my sanity, my alone time, and the one thing I look forward to doing.  That is, until today.

I woke up this morning and the cupboards were bare, the fridge was basically empty, and there was a lone frozen waffle in the freezer.  Being the great mother I am I decided it was time to go grocery shopping.  The only problem?  My husband was at work, so that meant I either let the kids go hungry all day or I buck up, get the kids and myself dressed and take all 3 of them WITH ME.  Yes 3 kids alone in the grocery store.  Fun.

Before I unbuckled all of them I looked into their eyes and said "we are going into the store now, don't ask me for this, or that, don't try to run off, don't cry when I say no, and please PLEASE don't make me yell at you"  All three of them looked me in the eye and simply said "OK".  My kids are liars.

The first 5 minutes were fine, we went through the produce department with no problems.  I got the things I needed and moved onto the hot dog/lunchable area.  Braden starts "ooooo I want one! Can I get one?? Please can I get just one??" "Fine" I said "just one." My first mistake.  One of the rules of grocery shopping (or any kind of shopping for that matter) is when you get one thing for one of them then they ALL have to have one.  Elle starts yelling "mine mine mine!" then Brody.  I had to think fast, then I got it, the bakery!  Who doesn't remember going shopping with their mom and stopping at the bakery for a free cookie?  I said "Who wants a cookie?" in unison they all yell "MEEEEEEE!" Great off to the bakery we go, everyone got a GIANT cookie and I continued on my way.

The next five minutes were quiet, and it was so nice, until Braden did the unthinkable to Brody.  I am looking at the pasta aisle and hear a blood curdling scream behind me.  I turn around and Braden, brace yourself, BROKE.BRODY'S.COOKIE.IN.HALF.  That's right, right in half.  Brody is very particular about things, he likes everything a certain way, he is a little OCD courtesy of me, so to him this was the end of the world.   I looked at Braden with you know "the look" because he knows not to mess with Brody and he looked back at me with the "oh shit" look.  I tried to calm Brody down but it wasn't working.  He was pissed, crying, screaming, having a complete meltdown.  People were looking at me probably thinking I was killing him.  Then a lady said "Um excuse me, your daughter" I turned around and there's Elle standing straight up in the cart with the proudest look on her face.  I said thank you, sat Elle back down, grabbed Brody and just started walking away.

I finally calmed Brody down after a few minutes (basically by letting him yell to Braden "THAT WASN'T NICE BEEDEN!) and was now rushing through my shop.  Things were going downhill and fast.  Shopping is normally a thing that takes me a few hours, I like to compare products, prices, etc. so I take my time to try and spend as little as possible.  Not today.  I looked crazy throwing things in the basket, not even stopping, just slowing down enough to grab things off the shelves.  Then came the frozen aisles.  They were all yelling for different things "pizza! waffles! corn dogs! ice cream!" so pretty much anything they saw they wanted (remember in the beginning they said they wouldn't do that? yeah.) Braden keeps opening and closing the doors and saying "oh we need this!" to EVERYTHING. I finally stopped him, got real close, and in my quietest most stern voice said "Stop opening and closing everything and STOP asking for stuff".  There I thought, that set him straight, I'm totally winning now.

As I was looking at the vegetables I hear boxes start falling.  I didn't even want to look.  I knew what I was going to see.  I slowly glance over and theres Braden watching frozen pizza after frozen pizza fall to the ground with Brody laughing hysterically.  I just stood there, in shock.  How did this happen?? I WAS WINNING! I gave him another look (which obviously doesn't work but whatever) and he quietly and slowly started putting the pizzas back.  I didn't yell, I didn't even talk, I just let him pick them up and started asking God, Mary, and Baby Jesus, to give me the strength to get through the rest of this trip without having my own meltdown.  It didn't work.  We made it to the next aisle so I could get cheese and Elle starts picking up the frozen boxes and LICKING THEM. Every time I would take one away she would grab another.  Ugh so gross, I had no choice but to give her a stern "NO!" that was it, she lost it.  She started screaming crying and trying to get out of the cart.  I had one thing left to get, paper towels.  I could have left without them but I was going to get those paper towels dammit.  We make it to the paper towels, I'm winning again, they wont fit in the cart so I ask Braden to hold them.  Brody loses it HE wants to hold them.  So there I am in the paper towel aisle, Elle crying, and now Braden and Brody fighting over who gets to hold the single paper towel roll.  I felt it coming, I was no longer winning again, I had held it in this long but couldn't anymore.  At the top of my lungs I yelled "WOULD YOU GUYS KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY???" "ENOUGH! THAT'S ENOUGH!!" They all stopped and stared at me, yep they did it, they made mommy that crazy lady in the store with the kids, we all know THAT mom, and today it was me.  People were peaking around the aisle corners, the pharmacist looked up, and even the meat guy were all stopping what they were doing to get a look at the crazy lady.  I was so embarrassed, no make that mortified, I needed to get out of there.  Braden gave Brody the paper towel roll, Elle stopped crying, and we made our way to the checkout.

The cashier looked at me, visibly frazzled and said, "long day?" I just smirked instead of saying something smart ass like I wanted to.  I felt like I was winning again so I decided to treat myself to a small Starbucks, I earned that.  The kids were quiet, groceries were paid for,  and I was about to enjoy a hard earned coffee, I won.  I did it I won! HA!  I turned my back to the kids to pay for my Starbucks and I hear a man behind me "um excuse me ma'am, um excuse me" I turned around to see what this man needed and Elle was missing a shoe standing straight up in the cart again, and Brody was starting to pull down his pants saying "I have go potty".

I lost.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mental Health Awareness Day--my story

This Thursday October 10th is Mental Health Awareness Day, so in honor of that I have decided to share my story in hopes of raising awareness on an issue that is not only important, but very very overlooked.

I have been battling depression and severe anxiety for some time now.  For those who know me, even very well, they would probably not expect to learn something like this about me.  I am, for the most part, upbeat, happy, and overall fun to be around.  It is hard to keep that persona up sometimes, but I have always kept this quiet because for a long time I was ashamed.  Now I realize that it is nothing to be ashamed of, it affects millions of people, many of them do not seek help in hopes it will just "go away".  So even if my story only influences ONE person to talk to their doctor, friend, family member, or whatever then this post has done myself justice.

In March of 2010 I gave birth to my second child.  He was born a little early but had fluid in his lungs so he was placed in the NICU for five days.  It had been the second time a child I gave birth to was not healthy enough to come home with me.  I was devastated and blamed myself, even though there was nothing I could have done differently.  When we finally came home, I didn't feel like myself.  At the time I attributed it to changing hormones and maybe a small case of he "baby blues".  I loved my baby boy but I started noticing that I was becoming increasingly annoyed when he would cry, to the point that I didn't even really want to be around him.  I kept making excuses for myself, since I was breastfeeding I was basically his caretaker 24/7, except for the occasional time I would pump a bottle so my husband could feed him.  As every day went by I was getting worse.  I didn't want to see people, I wanted to sit in the house and do nothing.  I wasn't keeping up with the house, taking care of the kids seemed like a huge chore and I would cringe every time they needed me for something.  In December I got a night working graveyard and while I was there I loved it.  A part of me felt guilty for being happy to be away from my family, but it was true.  I felt important when I was working.  I had a LIFE outside of my house for the first time since high school.  After I started working I started to spiral out of control.  There were days that after getting off of work I would look at the freeway and think about just driving away somewhere and never going home again.  The thought made me feel happy and relieved.  For no reason I wanted to leave my husband and my kids behind and just pretend they didn't exist. One morning I after work I was in the left turn lane to get on the 15 north towards CA.  The light was red and I was staring at the highway like it was my way out.  That's when I realized I needed help, and fast.  This wasn't me. When I was little that's all I ever wanted to be was a mom, and have a family, and now I was just going to run?  It was time to accept that there was nothing wrong with asking for help.

I made an appointment with my doctor and told her everything.  She took my hand and told me it was ok and that I wasn't a bad person, or a bad mother.  She told me I do love my family and that's why I was there.  I was not a failure as a mother or wife.  She diagnosed me with postpartum depression, and severe anxiety nearly a year after I had given birth.  I was in shock and slightly relieved.  She told me it was treatable and we were going to get it all under control.  She put me on medication that really helped for a while, that is until I unexpectedly got pregnant again.  With all the commercials you see about meds giving babies birth defects I decided to stop my medication cold turkey (very much against my doctors wishes).  The withdrawal from the drug was the worst I have felt in my life.  I was sick, had what felt like lightening jolts running through my body, I was sweating all the time, it was horrible.  I felt ok after a few weeks and continued to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby girl.

I was paranoid when I gave birth again.  I tried to watch myself closely for any symptoms of depression to return and didn't notice anything for a while.  Then I did, AGAIN, and AGAIN I ignored it.  Denial is a terrible thing.  I didn't want to be a failure again, or a bad mother. I was embarrassed and felt like I was going to be judged.  I mean what kind of MOTHER doesn't want to be around her kids?  What the hell was wrong with me?  I felt like a piece of shit.  I started feeling like my kids deserved a better mother, a happy mother who did have the energy and want to play with them, one that didn't just sit around and watch TV feeling sorry for herself.  I never got to the point of attempting suicide, but it did enter my mind once in a while like "they would all be so much better off" "they deserve better" "I don't deserve this life".  My husband was aware something was wrong and started walking around on eggshells around me just so he wouldn't set me off.  I was making everyone miserable, so I put on my big girl pants, swallowed my pride and made another appointment with another doctor since by this time I had moved to another state.  When I got there the nurse was asking the typical questions, why I was there etc. and as I started explaining everything to her, I broke down.  I was hysterical trying to explain myself and why I was so ashamed to ask for help again.  She just let me vent handing me tissue after tissue.  When I was done she looked at me and said "If you think you are alone, you aren't. You are not a failure as a mother, you are doing this FOR your kids. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and we are going to get you through this again. Be PROUD of yourself for coming here." Some of what she said was similar to what my first doctor said but one word stuck out PROUD.  I hadn't been proud of myself in a long time, or happy for that matter but it was time to get back on track.

This time around has been a little harder, I have tried a few different antidepressants and anti anxiety medications but have finally found a combination that I believe is working.  It is important to communicate with your doctor if they prescribe you something and it isn't working.  Different medications affect people differently.  What may work for someone you know may not work for you.  Don't give up, if you keep at it you WILL get better and get your life back.

Some people do not believe in prescription medication, and that is ok.  If you want to try holistic ways that's just fine, but if it doesn't work do not be ashamed to try other alternatives.  Your health is the most important thing here.

I'll never understand why this topic is so hush hush in the media.  It is incredibly important to get the word out to people that they are not alone, and that they are not failures as mothers, wives, fathers, husbands, or even daughters and sons.  If you feel like something is wrong, or you aren't yourself you need to talk to someone, anyone.  Don't bottle everything up inside expecting it to just go away, because chances are it wont go away, it will just get worse.  There is no shame is asking for help, in fact it is a very selfless act, because you are not only helping yourself but you are helping those around you.

I didn't write this as a pity party for myself.  I wrote this in hopes someone out there says "hey that sounds like me" and get the help they need.  Do not be ashamed, there is hope for everyone.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Here illegally? Come to CA

Recently the Governor in CA made it legal for illegals to get a valid drivers license in the state.....huh?

When I moved to CA from NV and went to the DMV to get my CA drivers license I had to provide an original birth certificate to get one. Even though I had a valid license from the state of NV that wasn't acceptable to them. I had to go down to the county office (thank god I was born in Orange County) pay the $30, go back to the DMV, wait another 3 hours, and take the test before I finally was legally able to drive in the state. Me, a US citizen, born and raised in the states had to go through quite a lot to get my license, so how in the hell are people who are here illegally going to be able to do the same?  

I don't understand how it's fair. I have never had a problem with people from other countries wanting to live the "American dream" (whatever the hell that is anymore) and come here, BUT if they want the same privileges, like a drivers license among other things, then they need to go through the process and become a citizen. 

I am aware it is a lengthy process, but so what. It irritates me that it am paying for illegals welfare, healthcare, etc. Illegals don't pay taxes which means they don't put into this country what they are taking out. I'm not saying all illegals are on welfare but for the ones that are it simply isn't right. If you don't want to take the time to live and work here legally then you should go back to your home country.  I would never pick up and move to another country and mooch off of their citizens. People work hard for what they have and it isn't right that money comes out of my pocket to support people who don't want to take the initiative to become a true citizen of the United States. 

This is far from the only problem in the United States, our country is in the shits and it's going to take a whole lot to dig out of the hole we are in, but this has the ability to make things much worse. If this starts a trend and moves on to more states, more people will come illegally and things like taxes and even car insurance rates will rise. 

I don't understand the plus side of this, nor do I understand the rationality behind it. It makes absolutely no sense to me